community through art.
Adaptability is a doorway to creativity, and to open one’s mind to the possibility of creating art is best done when fear is left at the door.
That is what Lorraine Whellams does when she approaches her canvases. She does so with a tenacity and fearlessness that produces an end result of colour, movement, and beauty.
To look at Whellam's paintings in a lot of ways cultivates feelings of nostalgic Alberta prairie road trips. Wide open spaces, patchwork fields, and of course, stunning skies.
“I get my inspiration from a lot of places. With my landscape, I am a prairie girl. I love the prairies and I am really inspired by the prairies,” described Whellams.
“I’m inspired by the skies - you can't beat the skies in Alberta. I am inspired by travels, idea, colour, light.”
Her oil and acrylic paintings have a quality to them that demonstrates her love for her local landscapes.
“I have always done art as a child - I was always drawing and colouring. I always did a lot of drawing, even as an adult.”
Her adaptability and desire for growth has been what has kept Whellams relevant in today’s art world.
“I try the best I can to move myself forward in my art with experimentation.
“I don't see myself as unique amongst artists, I see myself as an artist who, like many other artists, wants to continue on their journey moving forward.
“Not standing still with their art, not painting the same picture over and over again.
“Attempting to do something different with my art, something pleasing not only to me but to other people as well. Painting often just from my heart.”
Traditionally, she worked with pencil as more of a sketch artist. And though there was a comfort to working in a grayscale format, when a dear artist friend of hers suggested working in colour with paint she was fearful at first.
“One day, a very good friend of mine said ’Lorraine, why don't you throw those pencils away and start to use some colour’.”
“I took her advice, I threw my pencils away and I started to paint and I was completely surprised when people liked the work that I did.”
It was this friend, Whellams said, who was responsible for dragging her outdoors to paint and taught her to proceed fearlessly.
She explained that at first the medium can be intimidating, the canvas, the paints, they are all expensive and so lend themselves to the idea of being precious.
It is the abandon from this precious mentality that allows her to open up and develop a fearlessness that takes her to a creative place.
“Probably the biggest lesson I have learned as an artist is that you have to paint fearlessly.
It is something that I really believe too. If I am teaching other people, I am teaching them the same thing.
I say ‘look, it is a piece of paper, it's a piece of canvas, go for it and if it doesn't work out then it doesn't matter.
Go ahead and screw up, you might surprise yourself.”
Currently Lorraine Whellam’s work is on display at the Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, the Leighton Centre just South of Calgary, and the Collectors Covey in Dallas.
Here's a video of Lorraine painting and talking about her work!
Article and Photography by Chelsea Lees
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