Former high school art teacher Laura Hilts said one of the things she always tried to teach her students was to keep exploring and trying new things.
Hilts, president of the local Arrowsmith Federation of Canadian Artists chapter, is showing she’s taking her own advice with her latest series of work now up at The Gallery in Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach.
Generally an organic, spontaneous painter who lets her emotions express themselves in her work without too much of a plan, Hilts said she turned to home decor to get inspired in a new direction.
“I was looking for interesting compositions and I came up with this idea of looking in home decorating magazines,” she said.
Hilts said she fashioned a viewer frame to look at sections of the interiors, turning the magazine sideways and upside-down, finding grids like venetian blinds and staircases, and other geometric shapes.
“Then I made little sketches until something got me interested and excited,” she said.
What came out of it was her Organic Geometry series: watercolour and acrylic paintings with geometric backgrounds and restricted colour palettes, but including an organic element as a focus.
“The geometric shapes would be something I wasn’t that comfortable with, so I had to incorporate a little bit of me from the past into my new idea.”
The result is an often colourful, colour co-ordinated juxtaposition of consistent curves and lines with flowers, in a realistic or abstract style.
While it is a definite departure from Hilts’ usual process, she said the more ordered work was a nice change from the emotional roller coaster that her work is often derived from.
“I liked it because it’s like solving puzzles,” she said. “You’re moving things around objectively… it was fun.”
Asked what she hoped students of her art class would come away with, she said, “Art should be fun, and I would hope that they would enjoy themselves, trying new things and exploring.
“After they’ve learned some of the basics, then they can work to become whatever they are in their art. Be you. Have a genuine voice. But have fun.”
Also at The Gallery in Qualicum Art Supply is a Christmas tree filled with ornaments made by local artists Linda Sams, Heather Mathews and Margery Blom. These include painted works and little, home-made houses.