An exhibit by Wells artist Caroline Anders hangs in the Station House Gallery this month.

An exhibit by Wells artist Caroline Anders hangs in the Station House Gallery this month.

Childhood photographs inspire Wells artist Caroline Anders

A package of childhood photographs inspired Wells artist Caroline Anders to create her most recent collection of paintings.

A package of childhood photographs inspired Wells artist Caroline Anders to create her most recent collection of paintings, now showing at the Station House Gallery in Williams Lake.

Anders grew up in Ontario, near Sudbury, spending the first seven years of her life on a small hobby farm in Chelmsford.

“I was always creative,” she said. “I wasn’t creating bodies of work for shows or anything professional, but I was always making things and painting here and there.”

That was until she started to delve into oil painting.

“I like to paint at the school or in my house studio,” she said, adding her home studio isn’t very big, but does the trick.

Her paintings are developed in the first half hour of creating them. The beginning stages are “frantic” she described.

After an intense painting session, she returns to add three or four layers. She adds and takes away to develop the images more acutely.

“It’s really difficult for me to explain solely what my work is because a lot of it comes from a place I don’t really know about that I’m still discovering. It comes out of me and the images are there.”

When asked if it’s quiet while she’s painting, Anders shakes her head and says, “no, it’s pretty manic.”

The idea for a painting will begin to brew inside and reach a point where she has no choice but to put it on the canvass.

And most often, big strokes and bold colours will tumble out immediately.

“Maybe the images aren’t there, but the composition is. I know where things are going to go. I usually start from the top left and work down. It can vary, but the process is probably easier to explain than the actual art,” she suggested. “It’s still a big journey to understand why and how it emerges. My work is quite contemporary. Sometimes it’s hard to explain and I don’t get it at the time.”

Anders is connected to and intimate with her paintings, she said.

“Maybe sometimes I don’t think people are going to see what I see in the details or the tiniest stroke or something pushed.”

Standing next to a painting titled Chelmsford during the show’s opening, she said the piece is an exploration of the landscape where she grew up.

The theme of the show reflects the feelings she had living on the farm.

“It was a good time, but it wasn’t a great time,” she said. “There was loss and family things and even though I was only seven, I realized then there were things I couldn’t talk to anyone about.”

Creating the paintings helped though.

“Receiving the photographs from my mom was like getting a time capsule. The photographs really inspired me.”

Typically she does not paint from photographs. Instead she creates from her mind or what she sees.

“But a few of these paintings I actually painted directly from the photographs in my own way and they turned out the way they did,” she shrugged.

The whole collection is meant to be shown together. They relate to a time in her life and how she feels looking back on that time as an adult.

“It’s pretty crazy,” she said.

Looming large in her memories are numerous hydro poles always present in the forefront and on the horizon, dotting the rocky landscape.

“That’s why you can see all those lines throughout the painting,” she said, pointing to the Chelmsford piece.

Anders began creating the collection in 2011 during the Toni Onley Artist’s Project, a mentorship program at Island Mountain Arts in Wells. As many as 20 artists and two mentors will paint for eight days, she explained.

“I started developing the concept for this body of work, which I was intending on doing prior to that, but I work really well under pressure,” she said. “I was pumping them out really really quickly and the mentors noticed a pattern and were kind enough to select me to exhibit in a Penticton Art Gallery.”

From August until Christmas 2011, she focused on the works, painting steadily, until they were taken to be shown for two months in early 2012.

In November 2012 she returned to Ontario for the first time in several years and had the opportunity to visit the farm.

“It was pretty emotional, but creating these paintings and then going there was a huge release. I feel kind of finished with it in a way and I feel comfortable with it.”

Pausing she said it’s not only about the journey of creating, but it’s about being a person and trying to understand yourself, the world, things and everything around.

“I feel lucky I can paint,” she said. “That I can use this as a tool if I want to express my joy, my angst, and my experiences of being alive.”

A decade ago, she was wooed to the west by a chamber maid job at a lodge on Bowron Lakes.

“I wanted to get out of Ontario, found this area on the internet, stumbled here and never looked back,” she said.

The exhibit runs at the Station House Gallery until the end of March.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The next welding program being offered at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus will be tuition-free thanks to federal funding. (Thompson Rivers University photo)
So you want to be a welder?

TRU Williams Lake offering tuition-free program

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Williams Lake RCMP are asking the public for assistance locating Marion Louise Billy. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake RCMP seek woman wanted for theft, weapon possession

RCMP released the information Thursday, May 6

Audrey McKinnon was officially named the NDP nominee for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon confirmed as Cariboo Prince-George federal NDP nominee

The nomination comes during speculation the federal government

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read