For the past four months, local but internationally recognized artist Meghan Hildebrand has been working full time on a collection of paintings called
Lightningwise! in her studio, located on Willingdon Avenue.
The series of 14 pieces, some very large, are to be shipped to Winnipeg for her solo show at Mayberry Fine Art this coming May.
Before the pieces travel across the country, this weekend, the public will have a chance to view the original collection at Hildebrand’s art launch.
“I’ve been in town 19 years, and this is year number three in this studio location,” said Hildebrand. “Now that my studio is out of the house, I’m so excited to be able to share my work with the local community before it goes out into the world.”
The artist’s body of work is responsive to her previous one.
“My last series focused on shorelines and the makeshift communities that build up in remote coastal locations; I wanted to continue that exploration, but I was craving larger work and more abstraction,” she said. “I wanted paintings that could be appreciated from a distance, that would be less about the details and more about impact. I used a zigzag motif, like lightning, to begin my compositions. The zigzagging compositions keep the viewer’s eyes actively moving around the painting.”
Born and raised in Whitehorse,Yukon, she then travelled to the East Coast to attend Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, then west, to Nelson BC, where she studied at the Kootenay School of the Arts.
Hildebrand and her husband Tony moved to the qathet region in 2004 while on honeymoon.
“It was a beautiful and affordable place to live where I could paint full time,” she said. “It has been exactly that.”
Her body of work is prolific, always evolving, and can be seen around the qathet region in coffee houses, art galleries, homes and restaurants.
“I love the look of collage and it is a style I strive to achieve with my paintings.”
Hildebrand doesn’t deny that being on the west coast has influenced her work.
“No matter how a painting starts out, it always turns into a painting of the coast or of the forest, or both,” she said.
In the Lightningwise! series, Hildebrand uses painter’s tape, “allowing me to create unique patterned areas, sometimes very loosely painted, and contain them right where I want them.”
She is impressed with the turnout at art events in the region and admits, for many artists, it’s hard to make a living.
“I have a drive to create, that keeps me going,” she added. “Making a living as a painter is a serious hustle; it’s a full-time job, plus.”
She said living in qathet Regional District has allowed her to have a work life balance.
“I can leave my studio and be in the woods or the beach in five minutes, and return recharged,” she added.
Hildebrand will host an open house from 12 to 4 pm on Saturday, February 11, at 4624A Willingdon Avenue, where visitors can expect to see the 14 pieces.
If individuals and groups want to avoid a crowd, they are welcome to set up private viewings on Sunday, February 12. For more information, go to Hildebrand’s Facebook page or website at meghanhildebrand.com.