MAGICAL - A piece entitled ‘Early Morning’ is just one example of St. Albert-based artist Doris Charest’s works featured in a new exhibit called Untouched, currently showing at the Harris-Warke Gallery downtown. photo submitted

St. Albert artist featured in new exhibit at the Harris-Warke Gallery

An opening reception for Doris Charest runs April 6th from 6 to 8 p.m.

St. Albert-based artist Doris Charest is featuring some of her exquisite works at the Harris-Warke Gallery in a show running through to May 12th.

An opening reception runs April 6th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, which is located at 4924 – Ross St.

Charest’s exhibit showcases a number of stunning mixed media landscapes in a show called ‘Untouched’.

The exhibit springs from two years of exploration with combining different media using one theme.

“Mixed media is my favourite form of painting,” she explains via her artist statement. “Using water-based media, I like to experiment with colours and textures. The collages provide me the opportunity to push the boundaries of image making to a more abstract form while still retaining a sense of realism.

“Within each piece is a story that needs to be discovered. The shapes, the colours and the texture each tell part of the story. I like the viewer to slowly discover what the story is.”

For Charest, a passion for painting actually surfaced in adulthood – she and her family were transferred down to Houston and she was looking for ways to connect to her new community.

“My husband was transferred to Houston and I couldn’t work or go to university or find myself anything to do,” she recalled with a laugh. “So my neighbour took me to her painting class to help me as an act of kindness – and that’s where it started,” she said of her love to create art. “I became addicted.”

That was over 30 years ago, and it’s a passion that hasn’t faded over the years – although while raising her family, she didn’t have quite the time to spend with it. These days, however, she is able to pour more hours into it, and the wonder of the process is something she never takes for granted.

“I can’t really say I’m self-taught — I took classes because I loved it.”

Still, there was certainly a natural flair there pretty much from the start. Charest said she was even at times surprised at what she could come up with as her unique style was increasingly taking shape.

“I love painting more than I love to draw — I ‘draw’ better with a brush, I always say. It’s also very relaxing for me — it’s my ‘meditation’ moment,” she explained.

For Charest, who once lived in Red Deer, being an artist is also a constant learning process.

“It’s making something that never existed before. At the same time, it’s your interpretation of it. It will never be the same as anybody else’s. Sometimes also, you can’t believe that your hands are actually doing this — it’s like a magic moment.

“It’s new all of the time — I think that’s what I like about it.”

For more about Doris Charest, check out dorischarest.ca.

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