Mirja Vahala at the Kootenay Bakery

Brought to you by I Love Nelson.

Mirja VahalaArtist’s Statement 

A flutter in my belly pulls me into my studio. I sense how quickly time passes and how precious life is, and I begin to paint. Soon the painting unfurls itself in layers of color and contrast – form, light and space become a landscape carved from the passage of time.

Ideas come to me from our common well of human needs and experiences: how we relate to time, to change, and to mortality. As I paint, I strive to convey a sense of life’s beauty and meaning through the messages I see within nature. I also create artwork as a way to connect with people who, like myself, thrive on stories that lie beyond the surface of things.

Walking with my husband and dogs in the West Kootenay outdoors, I see stories in the surrounding landscape. I see lightning strike a tree and I think about how a forest needs fire
to flourish, just as we need hardship to become our best beings. In my imagination I see a tree, struck by lightning, transforming into birds. With this image in my heart and mind’s eye,
I feel that flutter in my belly. I return to my studio and begin again to paint.

Biography

My family is a maker of things, so creating art as a young child felt very natural. From the time I saw a babysitter’s sketchbook and was inspired to draw, to my degree in graphic design and visual arts from Kwantlen College, artwork has marked the peaks and valleys of my life.

After graduation, I worked for a publication company before establishing, then selling after
15 years, my own design company. It was with joy, and some angst, that I began the journey of being a full-time fine artist and instructor.

In 2007 my husband and I moved from the Lower Mainland of BC to the West Kootenays to establish Windborne B&B, which houses Inspiring Minds Fine Art Studio. The visuals of the wild and rugged Kootenays are a definite influence on how my artwork is evolving — as is the open friendliness of the local residents.

There are several artists who have been integral in helping me to improve my methods. I’ve taken art courses from well-known Canadian artists via the Federation of Canadian Artists and other venues. For years, my mentor has been Bonny Roberts. Other influences include Mike Svob, Gaye Adams and my fellow artists.

Mirja Vahala

http://www.mirjavahala.com

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