For a fascinating look into the latest creative venture of local artist Erika Schulz, check out ‘Of Patterns and Sea Creatures’ at Gallery IS.
The exhibit runs through to Jan. 29.
The paintings featured have been inspired by three of Schulz’s favourite things – patterns, the sea and the colour blue.
This show also includes some work she created after experimenting on an idea she had while painting her ‘One a Day’ challenge back in 2009. That’s where artists around the world stretch themselves by pledging to create a piece of art each day for one year.
“As part of that challenge, I ‘extra-challenged’ myself to do things that were outside of the box for me and to experiment with different subjects, different ways of painting and different compositions,” she explains. “I tried to really mix it up.
“You have to put yourself through some kind of extreme situation as an artist or as any kind of technician to learn skills and to give yourself something to work on. It really became a huge jumping off point for so many different things. In order to get yourself to the next level, you have to take risks.”
During that year, Schulz, who co-owns Gallery IS along with fellow artist Jeri Lynn Ing, also did a series of fascinating jellyfish paintings as part of the challenge.
“At the time, I was trying to paint really fast as well,” she explains. “So I had to figure out a way that I could make the canvas interesting and dynamic, but also do it really quickly.”
Through a kind of unique layering process, she has given the works a rich visual dynamism and texture just the same – which is typical of Schulz’s tremendous skills as an accomplished artist.
Ultimately, 14 pieces featuring jellyfish were created through 2009. Five of these have been include in Of Patterns and Sea Creatures. Altogether the exhibit includes 15 pieces rich in vivid blues, intricate patterns and the aforementioned compelling creatures.
“Every artist has continuity whether they intend to or not,” she says, referring to the selected subject matter. “There are just certain things you are drawn to – shapes, colours and things like that. When you attracted to a certain subject matter, you tend to do those subjects over and over again.”
Looking back, Schulz laughs as she explains that for the 2009 challenge, she had made a list of 365 things she was going to do. It was an ambitious start to be sure.
“I didn’t do one thing on that list because it’s a very organic process,” she says, adding that the entire experience was strengthening as an artist. Waves of creativity would wash over her during portions of the year, while other times it was a bit more of a struggle to keep up with. But it was enriching just the same and was also a powerful indicator of just how deep those sources of inspiration are.
“Every single day you basically do what you want to do.”
For more information, call Gallery IS at 403-341-4641. The gallery is located at 5123 — 48th St.