This painting by Nanaimo painter Paul Jorgensen, called Sunday Drive, is one of more than 20 now up at the MAC as part of his exhibition, running until June 2. — Adam Kveton Photo

Artist brings whimsy to landscapes showing in Parksville

Human element to paintings adds a touch of story: Paul Jorgensen

Nanaimo painter Paul Jorgensen is looking to bring a different perspective, some drama and some whimsy with his landscapes.

Jorgensen has an exhibit of more than 20 of his pieces up at the MAC (The McMillan Arts Centre at 133 McMillan St. in Parksville) until June 2.

Working with acrylic on canvas, Jorgensen has been drawing and painting most of his life, and attended the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr School of Art and Design). He’s been painting full time for the past 18 years, creating landscape paintings with angular, pointed buildings, a variety of colours, and a hint of a narrative.

Some inspiration for Jorgensen’s style comes from The Group of Seven, the Impressionists, and also magazine illustrators.

The Star Weekly used to have a Saturday or a Sunday edition that had colour pages, and I would study them,” said Jorgensen.

When it comes to magazine illustrations, he said, “A lot of them have different perspectives and more drama. It’s sort of more narrative than a straight-ahead photographic-looking painting of a landscape.”

Jorgensen’s landscapes are largely made-up, he said, though some of the beach landscapes are indicative of the West Coast, or come from photo references, which he doesn’t usually use.

But always present in his work is some detail of humanity.

“I like to have man’s footprint somewhere,” Jorgensen said. “Even if it’s a made-up landscape, I’ll use an open gate or something that someone’s been there — on those beach scenes, a little row boat or something that man has been around.

“I think it’s more of a story when there is something man-made left.”

Jorgensen’s exhibit continues until June 2, along with exhibits by Grant Leier and Nixie Barton. For more info, go to mcmillanartscentre.com/category/current-exhibits/.

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