This is a special invite to drop in to AGOG from 5 to 7pm next Friday July 6 to visit with Christa Rijneveld and Regan Johnston and take in their new group show entitled In The Mountains. They’ll be some refreshments and some complimentary appies to munch on. Around about 5:30 Christa and Regan will give you a guided ‘tour’ of the pieces in the show and answer any questions you may have. Come celebrate the opening of our summer show. All are very welcome.
Seeing mountains around me is relatively new to me. This sense of childlike wonder continues to overtake me; I’m impressed by the enormity of this landscape, intrigued by the shapes and layers. I’m intimidated by the fact that on the one hand this mountain might take me to the most beautiful place imaginable, while on the other hand possibly causing danger or death. I like the metaphor of the mountain; how hard it is to get up it, and how rewarding the journey can be.
I generally don’t do a lot of sketching. Planning out a general outline will suffice. Most pieces don’t necessarily resemble existing mountain ranges. Sometimes they do, often they don’t. The balance has to be there. I completely trust my gut to judge whether the composition, flow, hard- or softness is right.
I like to play around with the inner line work. Before I start I usually choose where the light comes from, but that is the extent of my plan. This part has to come naturally to me. Overthinking the inner lines would make the work look contrived in my opinion. I want the lines to flow organically, just like nature itself. While I work I don’t focus on where the lines are going; instead I think of depth and curves. There is a rhythm to these lines. Along the way I might feel the need to adjust a little bit; tighter, straighter lines here, more fluid, open lines there. I trust the process. The movement of the lines is most important to me. This excites me the most while working on a piece, but also gives me great pleasure after it’s finished. I like looking at a completed piece and seeing the dark little nooks, the interesting ridges, the spots that are touched by light.
I really enjoy doing circle skies. I like how they can show clouds, wind, time of day or night, while just being tiny circles varying in size. I’ll start with a general idea, but let most of the movement happen along the way. The circles are precise, and teach me patience.
I love contrast. I like how the monochromatic palette balances out the fine lines and details. Black and white, sometimes combines with bright colours, give this traditional choice of subject a more modern feel. I enjoy seeing how simple lines, shapes, and tools create intricate patterns that can play tricks on your eyes.
Only recently I started experimenting on a bigger scale. Painting canvasses is in many ways very similar to doing the smaller drawings. I like how much more impactful these pieces can be. I’m excited about exploring this medium more in the future.
I started drawing and painting to give myself peace of mind, to stop the continuous flow of thoughts coming in. And if other people love to get lost in my work too, then that’s just wonderful. My reason for creating is, just like that mountain, more about the journey than the destination.
When I was young I did a lot of drawing, and it came natural to me. By the time I finished high school and throughout my twenties I wasn’t doing any art. I was more interested in experiencing things first hand. I spent my time living it up and exploring the mountains in Canada, always wanting to go further and more remote.
During and after high school I was a residential/commercial painter working for my father’s company. I learned a lot during that time and it gave me a good work ethic. In my mid-twenties I wanted a change and decided to travel. I ended up moving to Europe to start modelling. I was never really interested in fashion but saw it as a good opportunity to have a different kind of adventure. I really enjoyed working and travelling all over Europe. While working on a short film for Vogue Italia I met a Dutch model who I eventually married. I always missed the rugged landscape of my home in Canada, so we eventually moved back to my hometown of Golden B.C. to start a life there.
I never forgot about art, knowing that someday it would be something I’d do. Once we moved to Canada I felt like it was time for me to start painting. I was ready to dedicate myself to it. The first time I picked up a paint brush other than for painting houses was in 2016. I was 30 years old and the concept of painting canvases was totally new to me. I knew this would be my medium and I would learn to get good at it. I decided to make art my career.
It starts with a moment that inspires me, whether that is when I’m climbing a mountain and see a dramatic landscape or when I see some interesting light coming through the trees. Nature is my main inspiration. I love how, if you look for it, you can find the most beautiful abstract lines and shapes that flow together so perfectly. Once I’m inspired I come up with the idea, and this is the most important aspect of the process in my opinion. If the idea isn’t right then it doesn’t matter what you do to the painting; it won’t work. I’ll spend a while figuring out my composition by doing different sketches of the idea, always thinking of the light source and how I’ll bring depth to my painting.
I try to convey a mood or feeling with my work. I’m not trying to showcase an animal or a landscape but show a moment that is special to me. Although my works are detailed, detail is the least important aspect of my painting. I want people to see my pieces and feel like they are seeing something for the first time. I like to create something I feel is different while being true to what exists in nature.
Conservation is important to me and this is another aspect I bring to my work. Through my paintings and donations I’m trying to raise awareness with art to protect wildlife and the places they call home. Our planet is changing and there are so many small changes happening alongside the obvious ones that I’m trying to show with my work.
It hasn’t been that long since I first picked up a paint brush and decided to pursue a full time art career, and I’ve never been happier. I’m learning a lot as I go. With every piece I’m finding out more about the direction I want to go in. I find myself drawn to creating big pieces. Every painting is a challenge and I will continue to keep pushing myself and my ideas.