Virginia Boulay, "Earthen Path," 2009.
Nature’s Muse, September 19 to October 3, 2009, Effusion Art Gallery, Invermere
BY: Patricia Dawn Robertson
Although Calgary-based landscape painter Virginia Boulay was born in Vancouver, her grandparents had land on the Alouette River northeast of the city. “I can still recall floating along the river and collecting rocks,” she says. Boulay’s work has a well-defined style with strong lines and vivid contrasting colours. The painter also works as a graphic designer and says that may explain her bold use of line, while paintings like “Earthen Path” exemplify her unique style. She’s influenced by painters like Anne Savage, Emily Carr and Georgia O’Keefe whom Boulay calls her “mentors in spirit.” Effusion’s Nature’s Muse exhibition draws from Boulay’s favourite natural sites, like the mountain landscapes near Calgary and the wide open prairie of Eastend, Saskatchewan, where she spent five weeks at a retreat in 2004. She cites writer Sharon Butala and her late rancher husband Peter as local creative influences while in Eastend. “They were so generous,” she recalls. “They gave me a personal tour of their land, and I painted the Butala family homestead.” She can’t wait to return to Saskatchewan to complete a winter series.