Sheryl Sawchuk’s artwork is all about nature.
The Nanaimo-based painter’s latest exhibition at Qualicum Art Supply and Gallery features nature scenes from the Island’s west coast and vividly coloured garden flowers.
“It’s so much fun bringing out those bright, wonderful colours,” Sawchuk said. “You don’t often get to use all the hot pinks and purples and reds in other subject matter, so it’s a lot of fun to get those fun colours out.”
She also loves creating ocean and forest scenes from Tofino, Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park. The rugged, untouched setting makes for perfect subject matter.
“I just feel that nature can’t be improved on by any man-made thing,” Sawchuk said.
“I’d like to explore more of the Island, more north Island. I haven’t really been up there that much. I wouldn’t mind getting up to Cape Scott.”
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Sawchuk grew up drawing from a young age and artwork has been a constant in her life.
“My mom used to be an oil painter, way way back when I was a toddler, so I remember her doing it,” she said.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in physical education, she became an exercise therapist with the Saskatoon Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.
A few years later Sawchuk moved to Japan and taught English for two years, where living in a new culture inspired her to draw and sketch frequently.
“Anytime you’re in a different culture, you reflect on things differently. That’s why travel is such a good growth experience,” she said.
Sawchuk moved to Vancouver Island in 2003 and began to paint full-time, taking part in juried art shows and festivals. She had visited the Island several times as an adult and hiked the West Coast Trail.
She mostly uses oil paint, which she finds gives a depth and glow to the finished painting.
“I think every painting takes on a life of its own,” Sawchuk said. “I just go into it with a certain idea and it takes on a life of its own when you’re painting it.”
Each new painting represents a challenge and a learning opportunity, she added.
Time flies while Sawchuk is immersed in painting and it’s a relaxing, meditative experience because “you have to concentrate completely on what you’re doing.”
Her exhibition will hang in the gallery (206 First Ave West) until the end of January.