Shirley Gibson-Bull with some of her abstract paintings hanging in the upstairs gallery at the Station House Gallery.

Abstract paintings provoke the imagination

Shirley Gibson-Bull of 108 Mile might be what many people term an abstract painter.

Shirley Gibson-Bull of 108 Mile might be what many people term an abstract painter.

Her paintings invite viewers to let their imaginations run as her subtle paintings evoke a mood rather than spell out a scene.

An ice flow, waves crashing on a beach, mountains peeking out over clouds, a lonely tree on a lake, and ropes of freshly spun wool hanging to dry in a medina somewhere in Morocco were some of the images this viewer saw in her paintings hanging in the upstairs gallery at the Station House Gallery this month.

Her work leaves lots of room for the viewer’s own interpretation of a piece, primarily because she works in an immediate way, not painting what she sees around her, but by pushing and pulling paint and ink around the canvas until she sees something that excites her imagination, then adding the finishing touches to create an image that pleases her.

Her working tools include everything from a credit card to plastic wrap, to sponges, and even coarse salt, and pouring techniques.

She is more interested in texture and shape than in colour, she explained during the opening of her show titled Art Next.

“I just love neutrals,” Gibson-Bull said. “I don’t go to workshops because I don’t want to do what other artists do.”

While she has named pieces for this show, Gibson-Bull says she doesn’t normally like to name her paintings because she wants the viewer to decide what they see in them.

“For me, it isn’t what you paint but how you paint,” Gibson-Bull explains further in her artist’s statement. “The journey is the important part and a finished painting is a bonus.”

Gibson-Bull was born and raised in England and took teacher training in Portsmouth where she majored in oil painting, pottery and silk screen printing. Shortly after that she married and emigrated to Canada and took a 40-year break from her art

After retiring from teaching she started painting again, mostly for her own home.

She had no plans to show or sell her work until she was invited to participate in a fundraiser for the South Cariboo Health Foundation.

She lives at 108 Mile House and works in watercolours, acrylics, inks, collage and charcoals.

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