"Spirit of the Forest"
Marleen Vermeulen, "Spirit of the Forest," 2009, oil on canvas, 48" X 48".
MARLEEN VERMEULEN, New Works
Kurbatoff Art Gallery, Vancouver
May 27 to June 11, 2009
By Beverly Cramp
A funny thing happened to Marleen Vermeulen when she moved to the West Coast 15 years ago. The Dutch-trained artist, who had been painting small abstracts, began instead to create large impressionist paintings from her studio on the Sunshine Coast. Vermeulen’s new environment, so unlike anything she had encountered in densely populated Holland, led her to want more ‘shape’ in her art. “I was blown away and inspired by the space around me,” she says. “I felt I had been thrown here in the middle of nowhere. I had to re-invent myself and I embraced it fully.” The new paintings started with figurative works, but soon gravitated to the seascapes and landscapes that Vermeulen encountered around her. Her palette became dominated by earth tones, with blues and grays in seascapes, and ochre and greens in forest landscapes. She describes it as “a very West Coast palette.” Vermeulen also works with strong textures, the contrast between smooth and textured brushstrokes adding depth. The size of her oil and canvas works also distinguish them. The 11 new paintings at Kurbatoff Art Gallery this summer range from 6 feet by 4 feet, to square canvases of 4 feet by 4 feet.