French Creek artist Susan White will participate in this season’s Arrowsmith Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artist’s (ACFCA) juried exhibit.
White submitted three pastel pieces and two were selected for the exhibit. Both selected pieces are described as ‘a spring-like blossom theme.’
For the past four years, for as long as she’s been a member of the ACFCA, White has made a commitment to enter as many local shows as she can. In the fall ACFCA juried exhibit, one of her pieces had been selected for the online juried exhibit.
This season, the organization will hold both an online and local exhibit, the local show being held at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) from April 6 until May 2.
According to White, only recently has she started drawing flowers while much of her previous work has been of wildlife.
“I’ve never felt like I was doing a good job,” she said about her floral works, “but they (FCA judges) seem to be happy with the technique I’m using now. I can get those nice delicate petals to come to life.”
White’s style has always been, for as long as she can remember, leaning towards realism.
“I always say that I have no imagination,” she said with a chuckle.
Her current medium of choice is pastels, as they allow her to selective blend specific parts and allow her to use various tools for etching delicate details.
The medium allows her to get closer with her work.
“I like the fact that you can just hold the pastel in your hand and just apply the colour directly to the paper without needing a brush in between. “
She also appreciates how forgiving the medium can be.
“Another thing I love about pastels is the fact that, if it’s not working, I can just brush the whole thing off and start again. Sometimes I’ll go back, days after finishing a piece, and think ‘I don’t like that yet’ and just work it and make it better. I like to let it simmer for a bit, but if it’s absolutely hopelessly I find it cathartic to brush it all off.”
One of White’s goal is to show how any subject matter can be brought to life with the right lighting.
“That’s what I’m usually drawn to when taking photos or selecting a reference photo – is how much life is in the light, and comparing the contrasts.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, like many artists, she taken a lot of her work online, though greatly misses the socializing aspect of in-person FCA meetings.
At least with posting online she can still get her work ‘out into the world’ and receive feedback and critique from her peers.
Since moving to Vancouver Island approximately six years ago, White was surprised to learn that the Parksville Qualicum Beach area is a “hotbed of creativity” with many driven and thriving artists.
Her love of pastels first developed after taking several classes at The Old School House Arts Centre (TOSH) shortly after moving to the area.
“I took a drawing class and it ignited my interest in art. And then my logical progression was ‘well this is great, but now what?’ And that’s when I wanted to add some colour.”