One of the paintings that has been turned into a banner to brighten up the city streets this summer has the look and feel of a beautiful stained glass window.
The painting is by Liz Derksen, who has a show of her work in the upstairs gallery at the Station House this month.
The paintings are similar in style to the banner with undulating naturally organic shapes to capture nature scenes that inspire her, and executed in magnificently brilliant colours.
Two summers ago she returned home to Ontario for a visit.
She wasn’t able to take her paints with her but did take coloured markers and a black marker and filled her sketch book with scenes around the lakeside cottage they were staying at.
On the flight home she started to pull together the idea for a series in the bold style she had sketched.
“Everywhere you go in Canada the trees are different. I started painting more and more in that style,” Derksen says. “I will be out hiking and see the trees in my head in that form and then start working.”
Derksen says drawing, sketching and cartooning have always been her passion. She took watercolour and other art classes whenever she was able to while her children were growing up but now that her three children are grown and on their own she has had more time to paint and is doing so with gusto.
This year she made a New Year’s resolution to create at least one painting a day.
It is a lofty goal, but one she says is not difficult to do given all of the advice and coaching available to artists these days in numerous forms.
One week she might paint portraits, another shoes, cats, portraits or still life. She might work in acrylics, watercolours, ink and watercolour or limit herself to 30 brushstrokes in a painting.
“I learn most by letting go of the fear that it won’t work and just paint,” Derksen says.
Born in southern Ontario, Liz and her husband, Dan, moved to B.C. with their family in 1984.
They lived in several communities around B.C. with Dan’s work as an optometrist, settling in Williams Lake in 1996. While their children were growing up she helped by keeping the books for Dan’s business.
She enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and visiting trees.
“I love to touch them, sketch them and paint them,” Derksen says in her artists statement.
“I think I’m kind of obsessed with tree bark as well although this might just be a phase.”
She continues: “My hope is that my paintings speak to you. That you are able to share the beauty I see all around me, and enjoy it through my eyes … If my paintings touch you in some way or make you smile, I am happy.”