For an artist who works in nature, the wild beauty of Vancouver Island provides endless inspiration.
Donna Wilk, a botanic materials artist, uses a paint palette found under people’s feet.
She uses plant materials, such as leaves, stems, bark, roots and grasses and more from her large garden to re-create the natural landscape in her artwork.
Gathering and processing the materials is a year-round activity, with frequent trips and hikes to remote areas to find just the right specimens. Every season provides a new array of colours and textures.
Wilk’s love of nature took root during her formative years in Siberia, surrounded by the lush Siberian Taiga.
“I am drawn to nature and feel most at home around trees and flowers,” she said.
Her art falls into two distinct categories.
The first, in the style of Japanese Oshibana, she works with whole plant elements, such as stems, leaves and blooms.
In the second, she uses fragments of botanic elements in a brush-stroke or mosaic-like fashion, creating a ‘floral mosaic’.
The term was coined by Urkov, a Russian artist, who influenced the direction and evolution of this form of art. This method allows the artist to achieve light and shadow effects using fragments of different shades of pressed plant material to create images with detailed texture, depth and colour.
“As I collect nature’s supplies I sense the energy that resides in them,” Wilk said. “Every new design is the result of tapping into this energy. I am thrilled that I can go directly to nature and use her own materials to emulate her abundant beauty.”
The process is highly demanding requiring concentrated effort for prolonged periods. It is not unusual for artwork to take months to complete.
The artist’s husband and son, both engineers, developed a unique hermetic sealing method to encase the art in a protective environment before framing to preserve the visual impact and depth of colour.
Only high quality archival materials are used throughout including reflection-free and UV-blocking glass.
Wilk is exhibiting her latest work at her home gallery near Extension at 2520 Myles Lake Rd. The Art with Blooms gallery opening is set for Saturday (Sept. 17), 2-5 p.m. Original art and giclée prints will be available for sale.
Please call 250-591-5190 or visit www.artwithblooms.com.