A collection of work by local painter Cindy Wickingstad is on at the Showcase Gallery until the beginning of November. Painted stones, felted scarves, oils and mandalas all make up part of the show. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

Colourful paintings ‘antidote to very busy life’

Mandalas and paintings part of Showcase gallery display

Bright bold colours cover the space at the Showcase Gallery, producing images vivid in their impressions and intent.

Cindy Wickingstad’s new show at the gallery is a retrospective, filled with samples of her work throughout the years.

Painted rocks, felt designs and glass mosaics complement the bright impressionistic work that Wickingstad bases on the forests and trees of the Cariboo, as well as images from her travels.

Some of the paintings come from a series of mandalas that Wickingstad painted during a course.

“It isn’t really to make a beautiful painting. It is working with intention, so you can see it is more meditative.”

During the course, artists were asked simply to explore an idea or intention and then work in the mandala format.

“It’s personal to me and then you stare at it and you come up with something profound – so that’s me waking up to the natural world,” says Wickingstad of one of her paintings.

“I wasn’t trying to make anything pretty, it was really about learning how to hold my paintbrush and the quality of the paint and how the brush holds the paint and just having fun with it. Some are really awful and just process painting but some turned out better than others.”

Wickingstad’s other paintings are inspired by the trees and her travels.

“My parents loved art and we went to galleries on trips and I think you look at other peoples artwork and you can’t afford it, so you think ‘I can do that’ and then you realize it was difficult,” she says.

“It was an antidote to a very busy life. I worked at West Fraser for over 38 years and it was physical and I would like just to come home and draw and then it evolved to coming home and taking workshops.”

Throughout the years, Wickingstad says she’s had many “wonderful mentors.”

She says she’s always working at getting better.

“Painting remains a constant trying to develop my style and then get better at it.”

While she is inspired by trees and landscapes, she says that her paintings are more impressionistic.

“I just have to take off with imagination — it’s like the painting takes off on its own, actually. You just have to let go.”

While Wickinstad says she’s excited to see what will come in her painting from her recent retirement — she’s realized discipline is huge when it comes to painting — she plans on learning and exploring more.

“It’s a challenge to face the white canvas for sure and that’s a question all of us artists ask, ‘Why do you continue doing it?’ Then you see something arise from that white canvas that you never thought. I never have a picture of what is going to happen, it’s always a surprise,” she says.

“You just want to continue.”

The show is on at the Showcase Gallery in the South Cariboo Business Centre from now until Nov. 7.

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