Bright exhibit paints a pretty picture


Thick paintbrush strokes depicting the breathtaking Foothills landscapes, created by an Okotoks artist, are showing in a new exhibit.

Okotoks artist Virgini Senden is one of five artists exhibiting work in the Vistas, Visions and Viewpoints exhibit.

Dozens of landscape paintings, from abstract to realism, are on display in the Leighton Art Centre until Feb. 24. Other artists include Lorraine Whellams, Kathy Adamo, Judy Perrin and Frances Vettegreen – all from Calgary.

Senden’s paintings stand out because of their bright, bold colours and thick paint strokes. She calls it a combination of abstract and graphic realism art.

“In my work the landscape is definitely visible,” she said. “The line is way more sharp than some of the other artists. You can recognize things, whereas in Judy Perrin’s it’s way more abstract.”

The various paintings have common elements that compliment each other, Senden said.

“We each approached the landscape from a different perspective, but what binds us is the colour,” she said. “The colour binds the whole show.”

Senden said her acrylic and oil paintings are bold and bright, giving off a positive feeling that reflects her personality.

The 10 pieces Senden has hanging in the exhibit depict all four seasons. There is a farmhouse surrounded by the flaming fall colours of the trees and a deep-green forest with the bright summer sky as a backdrop.

“I have some from the beach, like Vancouver Island, to convey the feeling of a lazy summer day just hanging out at the beach, enjoying and just being relaxed,” she said. “There’s cattle and cowboys surrounded by the beautiful fall colours and mountains in the backgrounds. Another one is a farm when you go from Longview to Highway 40 on the right side of the road with trees in fall colours and mountains in the background.”

Her bold paintings are also on display at the Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant in Fish Creek Park. Her work has also been showcased in gallery shows at the Calgary Stampede.

Stephanie Doll, director of the museum and exhibitions at the Leighton Art Centre, said the paintings in Vistas, Visions and Viewpoints is a perfect portrayal of what the centre is all about.

“A big part of our mandate and a part of our history is showing landscapes,” she said. “Usually we don’t do a show this early in the year, but we wanted to sneak one in. We wanted to make sure we saved space for our landscape exhibitions.”

Doll said this one-off show features approximately 100 pieces of work by five female artists and is a perfect fit.

“This exhibit is taking up the whole house,” she said. “You get to see what they look like next to each other and how everything complements each other. It’s really filled the space beautifully. A show like this is what the house was made for.”

The Leighton Art Centre is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no cost to view the exhibit.


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