Paintings by Parksville resident Rosemarie Baker are up at the MAC, inspired by various trips and places she’s lived, especially South Africa. — Adam Kveton Photo

Parksville artist paints dreams of Africa

Rosemarie Baker’s watercolour work at the MAC

Parksville artist Rosemarie Baker has done a fair bit of travelling in her time, and frequently draws inspiration from Greece, Hawaii and Canada for her paintings.

But her most ardent inspiration comes from her time living in South Africa.

That muse is clear in her new exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan St., where a range of her recent and older work is on display until Feb. 24.

A watercolour painter for 35 years, Baker said emigrating to South Africa sparked a new fervour in her work.

“I always painted before, but not as much as when I went to Africa,” she said.

It was the vibrant colours there that really caught her attention, she said.

“The colours, I always like the colours so much,” she said, with rich browns and reds making up some of her palette.

Colour is an important element for Baker, who said that trips to Hawaii have brought out similar colours to her South Africa work.

Canada has become an inspiration for her as well, she said, with Baker looking to bring out the colours even in winter scenes.

“You think of winter as all just white, but there is still colour in there,” she said.

Part of her process that determines some of her style is working quickly on her paintings, without sketching beforehand.

Though she said she sometimes uses photos as reference, often her ideas for landscapes come from long nights spent awake, or from dreams.

“I still paint a lot of things from my dreams from Africa,” she said. “The idea comes from my head and then, whenever I have the idea, I have to paint it very fast,” before the idea disappears.

Baker said she hopes viewers “get a nice, warm, happy feeling,” from her work.

Her work will be in display at the MAC until Feb. 24.

For more info, go to mcmillanartscentre.com/mac-galleries-susan-hiebert-and-rosemarie-baker.

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