A new art show has been hung in the Parkside Gallery courtesy of 100 Mile House area artist Alexandra Verboom with her new show Celebrating the Cariboo Chilcotin Life.
Verboom was raised, on and off, in the 100 Mile House area and considers it her home though she currently lives and works as a bookkeeper out at Gang Ranch. It’s on that ranch, in the evenings, where she also pursues her love of painting.
She said that she’s always been interested in painting and drawing since she was young and said that, while it’s hard to explain, something has always just been inside her that fills her with a need to paint.
“I enjoy painting because it allows me to express myself and to really celebrate nature and people by focusing on the little moments of life and celebrating those,” Verboom said.
Primarily Verboom works in acrylics when it comes to painting wildlife, however, she will use watercolour and ink wash techniques as well for some of her paintings. She is also completely self-taught and said that everything she knows has been learned through trial and error. When she first started painting seriously in high school in Kamloops she said she had a really cool art teacher who encouraged her and challenged her by asking her to look up a different artist every day to study their techniques, colour use, brush strokes and more.
“I eventually kind of created my own style and went from there,” Verboom said. “I call it loose-realism, which is not a real term it’s something I made up, because it’s not photo-realism it doesn’t look like a photograph but it’s not impressionism either because there’s that looseness to it that you can still see the brush strokes.”
When it comes to the message she always tries to share with her art, Verboom said it’s all about making people see the beauty and blessings in the small moments of life. Many of the ink wash paintings she does are about those small moments for people like a man sitting on horseback holding the reins to a woman tying her apron strings. For many of these paintings, she focuses in on the hands to showcase the simplicity of life.
Celebrating the Cariboo Chilcotin Life certainly takes this idea and runs with it as many of her ink wash paintings of these tiny moments are included within the show. They’re done using Indian ink, or India ink, a very black type of ink more akin to paint. Verboom said, she has to dilute with water to make it lighter and allow her to paint greyscale style images. She first learned how to do this during high school by studying Japanese Sumi-e paintings and returned to it a year or so ago.
For her paintings of wildlife using acrylics, she said they are primarily of wildlife from the Cariboo area and make use of muted tones primarily featuring birds of prey and predators, as for some reason she loves painting them. When it comes to paintings animals Verboom said she really enjoys painting the texture of their feathers and fur.
“The theme of the show would be celebrating everyday moments. Everyday life that we see here in the Cariboo Chilcotin so it’s a lot of our local wildlife and a lot of local home scenes you’d see on a ranch,” Verboom said.
Verboom admitted with a laugh she was somewhat caught off guard by the fact the show was able to go ahead at all. Due to COVID-19 she was somewhat “slacking off” and when she was informed the gallery would be reopening she ended up painting half of the exhibits on display within the last two months. While it was hectic, she said she works well under pressure and enjoys putting in a few late nights before the show.
Otherwise, Verboom said she’s been fortunate in that COVID-19 hasn’t impacted her art very much as she had few shows scheduled for the spring of 2020. Going into fall, however, she has a lot planned like the Medieval Market in Williams Lake which, while she hopes will happen, she expects will not.
Putting on a show like Celebrating the Cariboo Chilcotin Life is a lot of work Verboom said and she’s hopeful the general public will come and help celebrate that work with her. It will be on from Friday, June 26 July 25 with an opening reception planned from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on June 27 with a tent outside for people to socialize, a draw for a free piece of art and some live music provided by her friend.
She’d like to thank her family, friends and previous customers who have supported her over the last year and a half since she first started to show off her work and all that support has been wonderful.