Whenever Calgary artist Tyrrell Clarke and her husband needed a holiday, they would visit their friends on Gabriola Island.
“It would just absolutely relax us and I really felt the creative juices flowing every time I was here,” she said. “So I’d come home all revitalized and get into my studio and paint.”
Clarke and her husband enjoyed their time on Gabriola so much that this August the couple moved to the island for good. Clarke quickly got her studio up and running and over the holidays she’s making her Gabriola debut.
Until Jan. 13 Clarke is one of eight artists taking part in the exhibit Seasonal Reflection at Hive Emporium. The show features paintings, photographs, sculptures and ceramics by Clarke, Carolyn Bell, Stephen Cole, Deb Dallyn, Dirk Huysman, Phillip McAdam, John Poirier and Graham Sheehan.
Hive proprietor Mark Parlett said the focus of the show was to represent all media and to welcome Clarke to Gabriola. He said the work is all nature-based and devoted to the island.
Clarke said the experience will be her “hello” to the island community as she’s still trying to break in. She said she’s already started making connections by attending meetings of the Gabriola Arts Council and visiting her fellow artists during the Thanksgiving Studio Tour.
“I kind of feel like I’ve got to meet my new friends,” she said. “I’ve got a little touch of loneliness because I came from some really vibrant, well-connected art communities where the artists were really collaborative but I think that exists here but this will help to get to know people.”
Clarke will be displaying large, floral paintings adorned with painted magnetic bees, as well as work from her ongoing West Coast nature series. Clarke has long been drawn to forests and their “energy,” painting the foliage on the Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains. Since moving to Gabriola, she said “now it’s like everything’s on steroids.”
“It’s just great to be around all the nature. It’s really enhanced my appreciation for it and the energy is like a higher vibration and stronger. I’m inspired every day…” she said. “Here it’s green all year long and the cedars actually get more beautiful in the winter and that’s a good time to be painting.”
Living on an island, Clarke said she’s also started to develop an admiration of the ocean. Her first painting in her new space was a six-by-four-foot whale.
“We’re really happy,” Clarke said. “I love it out here. I feel like I’m living in paradise.”
WHAT’S ON … Seasonal Reflection painting, photography, sculpture and ceramics exhibition at Hive Emporium, 9-575 North Rd., continues until Jan. 13. Venue is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.