Multi-media artist Sybille Muschik loves to spend time outdoors and capture the beauty around her in a variety of forms.
She is sharing that beauty this month with a new exhibition, Perceptions, at the gallery beside The Space Above in downtown Quesnel. The art show and sale features a variety of subjects and mediums, including landscapes, plein air painting, gell plate printing and monotypes.
Much of Muschik’s work is inspired by nature and by humans’ interactions with and impacts on the natural world.
“Quite a few of the pieces have reference to local fires and the trees being compromised by pine beetle or spruce beetle, just the changing environment,” she said. “Because I live on the lake, the health of the lake is very important to me.”
Muschik was chair of the Bouchie Lake Stewardship Society for many years and is still active with the organization.
“We try to inform people how to take care of the lake if you are living on the shoreline and if you are using it for recreation,” she said. “I document the changing environment in some of these journeys that I take. We love to do camping, although we haven’t done much camping this past year, and I’m aching to get out there. The Cariboo-Chilcotin as an area is pretty diverse, everything from rainforest to almost desert conditions, the Chilcotin, the grasslands — all those things fascinate me, so nature in all its forms.”
There are not a lot of people in Muschik’s work, unless she is specifically doing figurative work.
“It’s more an admiration of nature,” she said.
Some of Muschik’s newest gell plate printing and plein air pieces are from her Shoreline Studio video tutorials on YouTube. Muschik started the videos about a year ago and originally had students doing the lessons in her videos, but that stopped due to COVID-19.
“I had a class in gell plate printing, and it’s not really a format that people are familiar with so much here yet, so I thought I’d start a channel and get people introduced to it, but I just did it for a local video, just to post on Facebook, but it was so bad that I realized I needed serious help,” she said, with a laugh. “So I brought in an expert, and his name is Joshua Blanc. He’s been doing my editing. He’s a composer, and he does wonderful music, and that’s in the videos, and he is tutoring me on some of the fine points of YouTube video.”
Muschik commissioned Blanc, who is also known as The Manitou, to compose music for her Shoreline Studio YouTube video blogs, and he has produced a CD of this music called Music of the Lake. Blanc also does most of the filming and editing for the YouTube blog.
Muschik is originally from Berlin, Germany, and she has been painting and teaching classes out of her Shoreline Studios in Bouchie Lake for 20 years. She is a member of the Quesnel Art Gallery, the Two Rivers Art Gallery in Prince George, the Williams Lake Station House Art Gallery and Parkside Art Gallery in 100 Mile House.
Muschik’s grandfather was a renowned landscape painter, and she spent a lot of time with him while growing up in Germany.
“I sort of studied at his knee, literally because I was just a little gaffer,” she said. “He used to go out in the field with us kids, and we’d monkey around and try not to annoy him too much. I was always watching what he was doing, and I just loved the fact that these scenes would magically appear on a canvas, and I loved all the colours.”
Over the last 20 years, Muschik has instructed a lot of art classes at the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre, Bouchie Lake Country Store and Bouchie Lake Hall, as well as private classes at Shoreline Studios, including some mono print classes, drawing, oil painting, watercolour painting, acrylic painting and paper making.
“I’m very experimental, and even though I do the landscape, they’re always leaning towards the abstract,” she said. “Mark-making is important, drawing is important, and just messing about with paint is important.”
Muschik finds art very therapeutic.
”When everybody was freaking out about the COVID business, I was busy doing my videos and doing experimental artwork and was not too stressed out about it,” she said. “I think art is helpful for that. It takes you away from all the problems. The hours just fly by when you’re painting; you’re deeply engrossed, and it’s relaxing.”
Perceptions runs Sept. 2-30 at the gallery beside The Space Above and above Books and Company at 371 Reid St.
Muschik will be at the gallery Saturday, Sept. 5 from 1-4 p.m. to offer a gell plate printing demonstration. Joshua Blanc will be there to sign Music of the Lake CDs, which can be purchased at the gallery.
“We’d love to see people come up and have a chat,” said Muschik, noting there will be lots of hand sanitizer, and people will be allowed in just a few people at a time to maintain physical distancing.