It was a packed gallery for the opening night reception on April 6, for two local artists Brandy Stecyk and Leah Selk.
Stecyk is showing in the main gallery, with her show titled B.C.’s Backyard.
While Stecyk was born in Ontario, her family moved to B.C. when she was young and she said she loves the air, mountains and scenery of the province and she could never leave.
Her show offers up a range of scenery and images inspired from across the province, but in a range of different media.
Using coloured pencils, watercolours, ballpoint pen, coloured fabric, ink and black thread, she filled the space with images of a range of recognizable landscapes, such as Farwell Canyon, and more focussed subjects, like flowers.
Stecyk credited her fellow artist Leah Selk with helping her become more familiar with other mediums and techniques.
“It’s just phenomenal watching her steps and how she completes it, she’s a beautiful artist,” said Stecyk.
She has been doing art her entire life but filling the gallery with her first official solo show was not something which just happened.
“I felt like this was more hard work than talent,” explained the artist.
Selk’s show in the upper gallery is titled With Love from the Cariboo, she also uses different media to express her complicated emotional relationship with the Cariboo-Chilcotin region and its landscapes.
While she was raised in Williams Lake, Selk said she left and did not look back.
“When I left Williams Lake after high school I swore I’d never move back, now I would never leave,” explained Selk.
She credits her partner Michael Kjelsrud with helping her rediscover the area.
“He showed me the area I grew up in and never appreciated,” she said.
Many might know Selk as having worked for the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society for many years.
She had begun to feel burned out and wanted to shift to being a full time artist.
“I’d helped other artists for 14 years and it was time I helped my own art,” she said of the move.
The show includes watercolours and some large format photographs.
While watercolour is a new medium for the artist, she said “it kind of feels like coming home in a big way.”
Using different papers and textures, Selk said she stretches the medium to help her express the joy, grief and hope in the region.
The show is up until May 27, 2023 and the gallery is open 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and is free to visit.