For Marcela Bodorikova, her first art gallery show is a celebration of texture and colour.
“Pastel Stories”, which opened August 6, 2020 at the Quesnel Art Gallery, is the culmination of a year of work. Bodorikova has brought together 50 artworks, all rendered in pastels.
“About a year ago I discovered pastels, and I completely fell in love with the texture and the colours and how vibrant they are,” said Bodorikova.
Her solo show is testament to that love. The images range in subject matter, from small landscapes to larger, close-up images of flowers or fruit; from colourful barnyard beasts to Bodorikova’s latest works, a series of self-portraits. But a common theme is Bodorikova’s exploration of the medium. “Because I just started [using pastels] a year ago, it’s all a learning process,” explained the artist.
Bodorikova, who moved to Canada from Slovakia in 2002, only began creating art in a serious way about five years ago. It was the gift of a colouring book that sparked her creativity.
“Somebody got me a colouring book, and I thought, ‘This is cool, but also kind of boring to colour things. I’d rather create these pages,’” said Bodorikova. She began experimenting with an art form called Zentangle, in which the artist combines dots, lines, orbs, and other small shapes in an unplanned way on small pieces of paper. Bodorikova began to Zentangle on porcelain mugs, and she sold her creations in local shops, including Cariboo Keepsakes and Tiny Treats.
“At some point, the Zentangle started to be a little bit too repetitive for me,” admitted Bodorikova, who then challenged herself with acryllics on canvas. Next came charcoals. “I thought, ‘These are so cool to use, but I need more colour.’” So Bodorikova ordered a set of pastels, and stumbled onto her preferred medium.
Bodorikova favours a technique that showcases the mark-making process. “I prefer a non-smudging style, so you actually see the strokes of pastels.” A piece titled Set Free, for example, depicts a horse rearing against a blue background made up of hundreds of pastel markings in different shades, densities and thicknesses.
Bodorikova said she is still learning about working with pastels, but hopes to continue evolving her style as she experiments. She takes online art classes, and every month there is a different topic to explore. These explorations have resulted in some of the works hung in the Art Gallery until August 28: an image series of different kinds of fruit, for example, showcases experimentation with blending the foreground and background. “The exercise with the pear and the apple, it’s called ‘lost and found edges’ … the edges of the apple are lost at some point in the background; it’s about making a joined impression with the background,” said Bodorikova.
Above all, Bodorikova said she enjoys the tactile nature of working in pastels. “I like the feel of it. I like the messiness of it,” she said. “It’s part of the pleasure of painting with pastels.”
“Pastel Stories” runs Aug. 6-28 at the Quesnel Art Gallery. For more information about this and other local art shows, visit quesnelartgallery.com.