Lloyd invited to view Prairie art

By Geoff Lee

May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

Artist Susan Schaefer is proof you can take the girl out of the Prairies, but you can’t take the Prairies out of the girl.
The Parksville, B.C. resident, who was born and raised in Osage, Sask. will show off her Prairie leanings with her upcoming solo exhibition of original paintings.
The exhibit called Prairie Whispers…Depicting the Quiet Beauty of the Prairies, will be on display at The Chapel Gallery in North Battleford from June 16 to Aug. 25.
The exhibition will be comprised of prairie themed landscapes, funky old barns and sheds, and iconic grain elevators.
Schaefer plans to be there for the public reveal of her 25 original paintings from 5 to 9 p.m. on opening day, preceded by a potential workshop from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. at the gallery.
“If anyone wants to come over from Lloyd that would be fantastic, and then stay for the opening,” suggested Schaefer.
“I think we need about six or eight people to make it happen.”
It should be worth the trip as Schaefer is excited to have Prairie Whispers at the Chapel Gallery, as part of Canada’s 150th celebration.
Schaefer said if anyone from Lloydminster wants to register for her workshop, they can contact the gallery in advance.
The focal point of the Prairie Whispers exhibit is a striking showpiece called God’s Palette of an old barn surrounded by swirls of hay, and a colourful living sky that defines Saskatchewan.
The 30 by 30 inch scene is the largest painting in her collection of acrylics that screams Prairies.
“I am from Saskatchewan,” Schaefer said, quick to explain her artistic DNA.
Her brother still works the farm on the family homestead, where she developed strong connections with the Prairies growing up.
“I had to leave the Prairies in order to realize that,” she said.
She noted like a lot of kids who grew up on a farm, you can’t wait to get off the farm, and once you get off the farm and you put a few miles on your belt, it’s just so nice to get back to.
Right after high school, she took off to Edmonton and then east to Toronto, among other places.
In 2000, she moved back to Saskatchewan into what she called a little house on the prairie in Fort Qu-Appelle, and began to paint at the age of 40.
“I got very serious about 17 years ago,” she said, noting it was a now or never moment.
She last left Saskatchewan for Vancouver Island in 2007.
“I still like to keep my connection to the Prairies; I do at least one or two shows out there a year,” she said during a phone interview from Parksville.
Prairie Whispers is a touring exhibition, which debuted in May of 2015 at the Signal Hills Arts Centre in Weyburn Sask., with the second stop held in Parksville .
The show then travelled back to Regina in 2016 at Government House, as part of their 125th Anniversary.
In February 2017, the exhibition received rave reviews after opening at the McMillan Arts Centre back in Parksville.
Wherever she is, Schaefer is inspired to paint Saskatchewan scenes from images on the Internet and Canadian landscape photos on Facebook with prairie themes.
When she teaches art in Mexico she will paint scenes of boats, palm trees and seas with her signature bright colours she gets from acrylic.
“I started painting with watercolours and I found with watercolours, I couldn’t get quite the intensity I wanted,” she said.
“I switched over to acrylics and that’s where I found I could get really bright colours.”
Currently, Schaefer is working on a commissioned painting of a bunch of tulips for an Edmonton resident.
“I have a show booked next year in Saskatchewan, but they want west-coast stuff,” she said, noting she will continue to work on her current series of Prairie collections too.
“There is no end in sight,” she said.

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