Welcome to “The Heart of the Forest”!
This Exhibition is the combined vision of two local artists, Valerie Peasey and Heather Gillespie. Valerie and Heather discovered their shared interest in art during discussions as co-workers, while working many nightshifts together over the years. They developed a friendship and now both retired, they are able to share their mutual love of painting together.
These two artists have very different styles as well as different processes in creating their art. Valerie works realistically from photographs which she has taken at her family cottage in Ontario. She paints in both acrylic and oils. Heather on the other hand, is an acrylic artist and paints in the impressionist style using both memory and imagination. She is influenced by Manitoba scenery. Both artists love the beautiful bright colours that cover the landscapes of our Canadian forests and lakes.
Mutual love of nature and it’s authentic beauty have brought these two artists together to create this Exhibition.
Exactly where is the “heart” of the forest? Could it be located in the centre of the woodland? near the edge of the lake? is it specifically and actually the energy of the wildlife? might the “heart” show itself as the calm before a storm on the lake? perhaps it’s a sunbeam resting upon a blade of grass? maybe it’s displayed as the brilliance of a sunset? or might the “heart” be hidden from view amidst the silent whispers of the trees?
These are some of the thoughts these artists had while painting the scenes for this Exhibition. In fact, the “heart” of the forest might also be the emotion one feels, when they relive a memory of a long ago walk in the woods with a loved one as they followed along a path to the beach.
Ultimately, the “heart” of the forest is wherever you personally place it. Valerie and Heather hope these words they have written will engage you to think about how you are feeling as you wander through the trees, relax on the beach, and watch pelicans frolic in the lake at “The Heart of the Forest”.
Valerie Peasey grew up in a small mining town in NW Ontario. Living there she developed a love of the landscape and wildlife. After High School she moved to Winnipeg to go to Nursing School. She had a successful 34 year career in nursing, working in NICU for 30 of these years. After marrying and having 3 sons, the family started taking holidays in NW Ontario and eventually built a cottage on a smaller lake near Blue Lake Provincial Park. Her love of this region provides the inspiration for her paintings.
Valerie’s artwork leans towards realism and she takes many photos displaying the beauty of nature to use as reference material. Working in both oils and acrylics she uses techniques of layering colours and blending to achieve this realism. While working full time as a nurse and caring for her family, she managed to take many classes in drawing and painting both in acrylics and oils. Valerie is a member of Assiniboia Group of Artists and Cre8ery gallery, and maintains a home studio. As an emerging artist in 2017, Valerie entered 2 of her stunning paintings of pelicans in the Gimli Art Show where they were both awarded Honourable mention, and one “Serenity” was one vote away from tying for the Public’s Favourite art piece in the show.
Valerie’s art is her way of expressing the love she has of nature and it’s wildlife and her desire to share this soothing yet exciting feeling one gets from experiencing it firsthand.
Heather Gillespie was born in Brandon, Manitoba. She moved to Winnipeg as a child and has spent most of her life there. During her youth, Heather first studied fine art at Symposium School of Art in in Winnipeg, and later attended The School of Art at the University of Manitoba. She set painting aside while raising a family and working many years in healthcare.
Recently retired, Heather has reconnected with her paint brush and is now devoted to refining her acrylic painting skills. She is a member of the Assiniboia Group of Artists and has recently become a studio artist at Cre8ery Gallery and Studio.
Heather is a gifted visual artist who delights in sharing her impressions of the magical beauty of our Manitoba lakes and forests. She embraces emotion, mixes it with colour and light which dances from her brush onto canvas. Her excellent sense of colour and bold brushstrokes capture the vibrant life of nature in a most compelling way. These expressive compositions both invite and transport us toward dreams amongst the trees.