TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO The back wall of Café Guido has been filled with beautiful pieces of art made by Yvonne Maximchuk.

Maximchuk artwork on display at Café Guido in Port Hardy

“I built a life which encompasses an extraordinary body of knowledge.”

Painter, potter, author, naturalist, gardener, carpenter, pioneer, deckhand, wife, friend, teacher, mother, grandmother… Oh, the hats I wear are many. And the one hat I never take off is painter.

Always and forever, inside my eye and mind I am painting what I see and feel.

This December, Davida Hudson- the mind behind the most varied and satisfying collection of small storefronts under one roof (art, books, coffee and clothing) – has hung a display of my acrylics and watercolours on the large wall in Café Guido, which covers more than thirty years of my painting explorations, travels, topics, and techniques of interest.

It could be called a mini-retrospective because the paintings span a timeline from the 1985 plein air watercolour painted in Monet’s garden in France to the most recent large acrylic on canvas of Hope Island (Xumdaspe), an island near Port Hardy where the ghosts of past lives haunt and enrich the present.

I began painting early in my life, as a way not only of expressing self and living out a natural part of my skill set of talents and strengths, but eventually to see if I could actually make a living being an artist.

No-one ever said to me… “Go for it! Artists make tons of money and you’ll do well, no problem, people LOVE to buy paintings!”

Generally people ‘knew’ that artist’s lived in garrets and starved and struggled to make ends meet and then eventually if you stuck to it long enough through sheer bloody-mindedness, eventually someone discovers you (like the National Gallery discovered Emily Carr) and you make it to the big time.

Well, some of this is true, and some is not.

What has happened for me is I put my attention on the quality of life that I desired and that quality of life was experiential.

I found I was always able to immerse myself in the joy of art-making, to travel and learn, practice and discover more and interesting ways to express the world as I lived it, to share in the community of artistic endeavours.

By focusing my attention on the thing which gave me the most satisfaction, painting; I built a life which encompasses an extraordinary body of knowledge.

Through art I’ve learned the natural world… Whales, starfish, salmon, cloud formations, trees, geology, history.

I’ve seen First Nations constructions and pieced together ancient and modern practices of existing within this landscape.

I’ve observed wildlife population shifts within the current habitat; from fewer humpbacks to more, from more salmon to less, from fewer cougars to more and on.

And beyond the visible, painting has given me a means to delve into concepts of the human psyche through images such as “Shapeshifter; Raven Woman”, about the many paths we take to a spiritual connection with all that is.

The artist notes the small details of life and sees the big picture. Art continues.

Expressing my life energy as artist has enabled me to observe, record, support, describe, and promote ideas I believe to be important, and to find my own voice within a dizzying array of others attitudes, opinions and choices in this modern world.

I hope you will go to Café Guido and take a close look at each of these artworks and note the variation and differences in what feeling you might experience from each of them.

Perhaps there’ll be new insight, new thought or inspiration and if so, I’ll feel like my work, (beyond the satisfaction of my production of it) has brought to you, the viewer, a meaningful and worthwhile moment in time.

Yvonne Maximchuk, born in Bralorne B.C. in 1952, has been a working artist her entire life. Her subject material and style vary due to the vast array of subjects to paint and ways to paint them. The magical and infinite material found in the inlets and islands of the Broughton Archipelago has created a lifetime of landscape, seascape, wildlife and garden painting opportunities.

Check out www.yvonnemaximchuk.com for more info on Maximchuk’s artwork and writings.

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