Vancouver Island artist Helen Utsal is bringing her Light of the Land exhibit to the Tidemark Art Gallery.
Utsal is based in Courtenay. Her art features unexpected colours and dramatic light, which she says captures “the vitality and beauty of Vancouver Island.
“Whether it’s pink and turquoise light reflecting off the coastal waters, or bright chartreuse mosses and ferns lighting up dark ancient forests, I want to capture it all. My paintings are an expression of how I feel in nature,” she said. “Hiking and paddling, I cherish the quiet sounds and stillness. With my camera and my painter’s mind, I mark moments, capturing imagery of light shining bright and chartreuse on stirring leaves, or fat moss… shifting reflective light on the water… With paints, charcoal, and chalk I make paintings to express the many moods of the forests, lakes and rivers and my sense of awe. This is a sacred kind of inspiration for me.”
Utsal received her BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she continued to work as a studio assistant to professional artists for three years. She then worked for some time in the film business in Toronto. Her work has received numerous awards, including the Best International Woman Artist of the Year from Art Comes Alive, Cincinnati in 2021, the Best Multimedia Artist – Art Capitol, Paris, France, 2019, and Best Landscape in Show – Comox Valley Art Gallery, Courtenay – 2018.
“As an artist, it is my privilege to witness and reflect the exceptional Canadian landscape that manages to convey both an ancient power and newborn vitality,” she said.
The exhibit will be on display at the Tidemark from Nov. 10 until Dec. 31. The exhibit can be viewed Tuesday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m. Admission is free, and all are welcome.