Inspired by travel to exotic locations and the joy of impending new motherhood, the abstract paintings by Catherine Roland are infused with more than enough life, light, and emotion to captivate even the most dedicated connoisseur of realist painting.
Roland’s paintings featured in the Station House Gallery this month reflect scenes from her travels in India, Nepal, Peru, Bolivia, Egypt, Myanmar, India and other exotic locals, including Tofino on Vancouver Island.
But even more poignant, she says the paintings reflect the joy and fullness of life she was feeling when she painted them while carrying and caring for her infant son Paolo Self, who is now seven months old.
Paolo and her partner Cameron Self, a massage therapist in Williams Lake, accompanied the artist at the opening of her show Nov. 3.
Roland grew up in Belgium and started out to become a medical doctor.
She took five years of Western medical training in Brussels starting at the young age of 17. By age 22 she realized she was ready to seek some answers about her own destiny.
She started travelling in her mid-20s and chose to stay in places she visited long enough to get to know people and their culture.
In her travels she uses pastels to capture images of the places she visits then later selects certain images to develop into larger abstract paintings that express her feelings about the place she has visited.
“When I finish a painting I also like to write a poem or story about how I feel,” Roland says.
One of her favourite pieces in the show is a sun goddess inspired by a visit to Mexico City.
Roland’s travels eventually brought her to Montreal, where she took courses in drawing and clay sculpture at the Art School of Montreal.
While travelling in Tibet in 2001 she made a wish to become a professional artist and returned to the University of Laval where she explored painting and studied the masters, Monet, Manet, Ingres, and Van Gogh.
Her style moved to abstraction in the following four years while travelling and living in Asia.
Two years ago Roland began exploring in B.C. where she met her partner, Self, who was raised in the Chilcotin, and now has a massage therapy clinic on Oliver Street.
Today painting has become Roland’s passion and her medical interests have taken her into studying alternate care practices such as meditation and Reiki.
For more about Roland and her work go to her website at www.catherineroland.com