Quesnel Arts create their artistic passion

Cathie Allen and Jim Savage pushed each other to finish their art before the show opened May 5.

Cathie Allen and Jim Savage are the featured artists in the May show at the Quesnel Art Gallery.

Friends for many years, Cathie Allen and Jim Savage are now collaborative artists, sharing the newest show at the Quesnel Art Gallery: Rooted.

With several different media and a wide range of subject matter, Rooted reflects the people, homes and landscapes in their lives.

For Cathie, her work flows from her love of the land, of gardening and the beautiful vegetables she pulls from the ground.

“The underground beauty of root vegetables is often overlooked, but that beauty then becomes sustenance on our tables,” she said.

She admitted there’s not a vegetable she doesn’t like, but some handling leaves much to be desired.

“Vegetables need to be prepared and presented properly,” she added.

In the translation of her passion for vegetables to the canvas, Cathie said visualizing a subject then putting it on paper is very exciting.

However, creating her mental musings is a challenge but very rewarding.

“I love working from the bottom up, starting with the foundation colours, then working with the shading. I love the whole process of watercolour painting,” she said.

With more than 20 years of creative experience, Cathie said one of the biggest obstacles to producing work is finding the time to get at it.

“Art takes energy and my focus for many years was gardening,” she said.

“But the last couple of years I’ve made time in winter.”

And with the gallery deadline looming, both Cathie and Jim said they used this as incentive to finish their pieces.

“Jim and I needed a reason to get painting,” she said with a smile.

Art is a relatively recent pursuit for Jim Savage. Although he was an avid artist as a youth, his life led him in different directions and he left art behind.

“It happens,” he said of the long hiatus.

However, about 10 years ago, Jim connected with an older artist in Kelowna. One of her goals was to break down barriers to artistic expression.

Jim took the challenge and after several courses with that artist he was excited to explore his artistic side.

“But I found it hard to maintain that initial excitement. Life gets in the way,” he said.

“Something had to give.”

In his work world, Jim was always working to strict deadlines. So, after much discussion, the artistic duo decided to apply for a show at the Art Gallery and were accepted.

“We created an artistic deadline for this show,” Jim said.

“It’s been intense but fun. I couldn’t have done it though without the support of my wife Martha and my friends.”

He especially appreciates the support from Cathie saying she’s a constant source of inspiration.

“I really admire her work.”

Jim says he’s still exploring different styles and media and his work in the show reflects that wide subject matter.

One of his favourite pieces, and admittedly one of the show stoppers, is a mixed media on canvas work labeled Near Churchill, Manitoba, 1957.

This is a work based on a self-portrait by the artist’s father while hunting in the 1950s.

“It resonates with the viewer and evokes strong emotion,” Jim said.

Although a little intimidated by the public display of his creations, Jim says life is too short and it’s been his dream for many years to explore his artistic side.

“I’ve never spent so much time painting, but I really enjoyed it,” he said.

Both artists have also included in the show prints of some of their work.

Jim said he went the distance to produce his prints on high quality, archival fine art paper, with top of the line archival-grade inks.

“This way, they are an accurate representation of my work and will last,” he said.

Rooted hangs in the gallery until May 26. The show is sponsored by Cariboo Pulp and Paper.

Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.




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