A Nanaimo artist aims to show “that sparkle of magic” in nature at her exhibit this month.
Sarah Boileau is currently exhibiting at Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre from May 4 to May 30, with approximately 30 pieces on display. From those pieces, she intends to take the viewer on a journey from the changing landscapes of Vancouver Island to the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.
Through her collection of realistic oil paintings, Boileau aims to capture and share some of the breathtaking sights she’s encountered while backpacking.
“A lot of the pieces are actually from the mother-daughter adventures that we’ve had together over the last five years…” said Boileau. “Our trips can be pretty epic.”
With her exhibit, she hopes to take viewers to the exact moment in time when she stood among mountains and first thought to capture the “inner glow” of their wildness.
Boileau remembered when she and her mother did their first backcountry hike in 2016 along the Berg Lake Trail at Mount Robson. She said the two of them spent four or five nights doing self-guided hikes through the rough 40-kilometre backcountry trail.
“And then in 2019, we spent an entire month and we did about five different trails. There’s all these wonderful mountains that you have to hike into to be able to see them. So, with my work, I try to share those incredible experiences through my artwork and through my reference photos.”
An amateur photographer like her mother, Boileau grew up in an outdoorsy family in Fort St. James. From childhood, her mother’s passion for photography has heavily influenced Boileau’s need for a creative outlet. Since she was three years old, drawing and painting has always been a necessary part of communication to her – an inexplicable part that needs to be expressed.
Her love for oil paints started at age 18, after she first received a set as a gift.
“I’m a patient person,” she said. “So the slow drying time of oil is something I really enjoy.”
She also appreciates the build of textures she can achieve with oils unlike any other medium.
As a predominately self-taught artist, her realistic technique is something she’s been perfecting for the better part of 15 years. Overall, Boileau has painted for 20 years, but said the first few years were spent in learning and dabbling and playing with the medium.
After moving to Alberta as a teenager, she attended informal drop-in oil painting classes in Edmonton, learning the basics of how to work with the medium.
While living in Alberta, Boileau worked in the highway construction industry as a surveyor for more than a decade. The work allowed her the freedom of practising her painting skills during the winters she had off.
“Creating art allows me to really be able to express how much I adore the natural world and how beautiful I think it is,” she said.
While painting realistic landscapes is her speciality, Boileau also aims to capture the “magic” that exists in nature. A self-proclaimed fantasy-book nerd, she yearns to convey the balance of fantasy and reality, albeit subtly, through her landscapes.
Boileau’s work can be found online through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, at Sarah Boileau Artwork.