Surrey artist Wendy Mould holds Emily Carr as her creative inspiration.
“One of my dreams was to travel and paint as Emily Carr did, being able to stay in one place long enough to really get to know my subject,” says Wendy. “Now that my husband and I are retired, we have been able to spend our springs and summers travelling and camping at various spots and doing just that.”
One of Wendy’s pictures, Voices of the Past, features a replica of a Haida totem pole, which Emily Carr painted in 1928. When speaking about Carr, Wendy comments humbly, “Emily was way ahead of her time. Her work really appeals to me.”
Wendy and husband Steve follow an adventurous spring and summer travel schedule each year. “We go out and camp for at least six or seven weeks, the north end of Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast - more into the forestry camps - so that we can just set up and stay awhile,” says Wendy. “We usually stay for at least one week in one place, so I can go each day to an area to finish an art piece or to take some reference material to use for wintertime art projects.”
The artist’s 2010 itinerary includes the Sunshine Coast, Texada Island, the Merritt area and Yellowknife. Wendy packs portable artist supplies with her sketchbook protected in a waterproof bag because canoeing is often part of her artistic journeys.
“I love to be outside. That’s the kind of travelling we like to do,” says Wendy. “My husband does some fishing and I’ll do some painting or drawing. Back at the campsite, he does the cooking and I work on bigger more involved pieces. My dog Rusty will sit on my lap while I’m drawing.”
Wendy uses a variety of art media including graphite or ink and watercolour to explore her passion for drawing nature. Her award-winning art has earned special viewing spots at locations such as Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack and Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Delta, which now display and sell her work. Wendy’s love of nature shines through in her choice of subject material. Her art focuses on themes like herons, owls, ducks and flowers. Finite detail is evident in each feather of a bird and each petal of a flower.
“Wendy’s inspiring pictures are really alive, not flat,” comments a visitor at one of Wendy’s art demonstrations.
There is often a whimsical, affectionate quality attached to her art, and Wendy adds special titles to many of her art pieces. For example, two goats peeking through a fence are named “What’s for Dinner” or geese on water are titled “Sunday Morning Swim.”
“I love to get into the flow of my picture,” says Wendy. “I’m always looking for relationships when drawing. I work from reference points whether in plein air work or using photo references. (Plein air is a French art expression to describe painting outdoors.) I love the texture and subtleties of working in pencil with its softness and fluffiness. I love detail and enjoy setting myself little challenges for the next pictures. At first, I will fiddle around as I see how to develop the picture but, once I get into the flow, things move and the layers keep building up and then suddenly - boom! It’s there! It is very exciting.”
Wendy’s art can be viewed in many art shows in the Fraser Valley and in private collections in Canada and the United States. She has also branched out into personalized commission pet portraits.
“I love to draw animals, so it just seemed like a natural fit.”
Clients have requested images of their beloved dogs and cats, and Wendy has rendered them beautiful realistic portraits in pencil, reminiscent to the days of black and white.
Along with exploring the remote reaches of Vancouver Island forestry camps, Wendy also discovered the wonders of the worldwide web. She has her feet firmly planted in this high-tech world by maintaining an informative blog and website (www.artbywendy.com).
Artist Emily Carr, who travelled around B.C. in a rustic caravan studio with her companion dog Billie, might be amazed or possibly shocked at the province today, for she wrote in her memoirs Growing Pains, “Alone, I went there to sketch, loving its still solitudes - no living creature but dog Billie and me, submerged beneath a drown of undergrowth. Above us were gigantic spreads of pines and cedar boughs, no bothersome public. Occasional narrow trails wound through bracken and tough salal tangle. Your feet never knew how deep they would sink.”
Wendy, who delights in painting life on the West Coast, portrays her own passionate involvement with nature. Her message has increased social relevance coinciding with a growing international awareness of environmental issues and the need to protect nature.
“Art makes you start looking at things much more closely,” she says. A sentiment Emily Carr would likely share.
JULY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
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