The art work of Quesnel artist James Savage, hanging this month in the Station House’s upstairs gallery takes the viewer on a trip along the West Fraser Road.
“I’ve travelled the West Fraser Road many times exploring, visiting friends and getting to other places,” Savage says in his artists statement.
“For me, it’s a human, agricultural and natural landscape with a lot of juice. It evokes thoughts and feelings about the West, going West, the European settler, and environmental and cultural change.”
Savage says he is a community worker, gardener, musician and artist, not necessarily in that order.
He grew up in the Cariboo and after a decade living in Southern Ontario returned to his roots in Quesnel.
As a kid, Savage says that all he did was art, but there didn’t seem to be much of a future in art so he went on to become a community planner.
A few years ago he says a woman in Kelowna encouraged him to get back into painting and he did.
“I make art because it’s an itchy thing that won’t go away, despite suppressive efforts like getting a real job,” Savage says.
“Inspiration comes from everything, but especially nature up close and far away. Strong coffee also helps, but sparingly.”
He says his work to date has been highly realistic but of late he has enjoyed exploring his “expressionist tendencies.”
The scenes in his paintings for this show have a definite surreal quality to them, while sticking fairly close to his realistic values.
He says his favourite piece in the show, and that of several other people at the show’s opening last week, is of a lone tree on a hillside.
In many of his works including this lone tree and another view of an old truck loaded down with firewood, Savage has managed to pull the viewer in with beautiful use of light, reflecting what seems to be misty mornings sunrises or sunsets, and in one painting the light of a kettle over a campfire.