Like many people I appreciate art. I have seen gallery exhibits from some very well known artists, like Degas and Dali - but I am also very appreciative of local artists, wherever "local" happens to be for me at that point in time. Over the years my husband and I have acquired art work from every place we have lived and visited, making the walls in our home very personal in nature, and almost a storyboard for the journey of our lives thus far. We have art from Toronto and Saskatoon artists, and artworks from other countries as well. I must admit until recently we had no artwork that had originated in Fort McMurray - but this changed this past weekend when we met local artist Megan Storrar, saw her work, and purchased one of her pieces.
Megan moved to Fort Mac six years ago. She grew up on the prairies, which shows it's influence in some of her prairie-inspired landscapes, and she spent several years in Toronto. She has also travelled and lived overseas, which again shows up in her work.
I first heard about Megan when I read about her new project in the Wood Buffalo Culture blog. I found the story of this project intriguing, and I contacted Megan in order to speak to her about it. I arranged to drop by her booth at Heritage Day this past weekend, and while I knew I would find her project interesting what I hadn't expected was how taken I would be with her artwork.
People, Megan Storrar is a very talented artist. I am particularly impressed by her landscape work. I find the local aspect of the paintings lovely, but more than anything I love her use of colour and texture. Her paintings of nature in particular are stunningly evocative, giving the true feel of the colour and sense of her subject. I was actually amazed at how very talented she is, and what amazed me further is that I think she is truly under-valued and under-appreciated.
It's hard to be an artist anywhere, but in places where the art scene is still regaining it's footing it is even harder. The art scene here was once vibrant, but had fallen away a bit, and is now experiencing a revival. This is why it's all the more important that we support local artists like Megan - because without our support they may give up, and that true talent, passion, and vision may be lost to us all. I know personally how just one encouraging word can make it feel like all your effort is worthwhile (this happened to me recently when a stranger approached me at Coco Jo's and asked if I was the author of this blog, and told me she loved my writing - that one act alone made me feel like I've made some sort of difference, people). This is why I purchased a painting from Megan - because not only do I love the painting, but I love that it is from her very own hands to me. I love that we call the same city home, and that she sees the beauty here, too. I love that she continues to paint and share her vision and passion despite it not always being easy. I will hang her painting on my wall and wherever I go in this world it will remind me of Fort McMurray, and the people and places here. This city is another thread in the fabric of my life, and it is now a tangible one in the form of a stunning painting hand delivered from a local artist. The painting I purchased is very similar to this one, people - and I can't begin to tell you how much I adore it:
Megan will have a booth at interPLAY this weekend, and I suggest all of you go and check it out. Purchase a piece if you love her work as I do - and even if you don't buy one stop and talk to her about her project, or maybe tell her if you find a certain painting especially evocative. Let her tell you about what inspires her work, and about why she paints. Maybe tell her about your experience in Fort Mac and be a part of her next book project. Or, if you're a shy type, just go by and look at the paintings. I promise you that you will be glad you did, because you will see Fort Mac through Megan's eyes - and people, it's a beautiful vision. See ya there, Fort Mac.