Balanced artist lovingpainting in Nelson

Featured Painter — Keira Zaslove’s work is on display at Cowan’s for December. -
Featured Painter — Keira Zaslove’s work is on display at Cowan’s for December.
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NELSON — Eleven years ago, Keira Zaslove knew it was time to get out of Deep Cove, Vancouver.

“I definitely moved here to do art,” said the Nelson-based painter.

“The city was too crazy and Nelson is a good place to do art. It felt like home right away.”

Her paintings are now on display at Cowan’s Office and Art Supplies for the month of December.

Her paintings are moody portraits full of females who seem disaffected; they do not smile.

Yet within these figures, their faces swirling with greens and yellows, there seems to be a bond, a friendship that transcends our temporal sorrows and miscarried joys.

Zaslove wonders if the representation is more internal than external.

“Maybe it’s more about finding friendship with myself,” Zaslove said.

Moving beyond the constraints of realism, she strives to show the emotion and feeling of a moment.

In this new, freer domain, colours can be used out of their everyday context.

“I love playing with colour,” she said.

Emotion comes through in a painting of a woman in a yoga pose.

Inscribed at the top are the words, ‘In my dreams I saw you, you were weeping…’

The cryptic passage lends an ambiguous and universal melancholy to the painting.

The origins of the words themselves capture the essence of postmodernism and the telling of stories within stories within stories.

“I did the painting first and added the words later,” Zaslove said.

“They came to me in a dream.”

Zaslove has jumped into her art full time and is realigning the world around her into the visual medium all the time.

“I think of Monday to Friday as painting, even if I’m out,” she said.

She works for short, intense periods and then takes a break.

“I definitely don’t paint for long periods,” she said. “I’ll paint for maybe an hour, take a break, and then go back.”

Instead of throwing herself headlong into her art – locking herself in a room for days — she sees it as vital to keep other aspects of her life in check.

“To me, being an artist is about having a balance. Things like fitness and nutrition are just as important as painting.”

This acknowledgement of the physical realm comes through when she begins a painting.

With a strong background in dance and sports, her artistic process pulls her from the abstract, the strictly theoretical, into a raw physical space.

“I think unconsciously things come through,” she said.

“I paint aggressively — by that, I mean physically — at the outset.

“For some the topic is important.

“For me it’s the physical part.”

She enjoys learning and takes many courses to improve her skills.

“I like Matisse and Chagall, but I’m not too drawn to looking at stuff from the past.”

Self-motivated, she is compelled to push her own boundaries.

“I’m really drawn to orange, yellow and red, but I like using colours I don’t like.

“Maybe it expands the mind.”

She sees her time spent in the creative space as a respite from the chaos of modern life, from the monotony of a 9-5 life, the demands of constant cellphone calls and e-mails.

“It’s always been to calm myself and I think it’s still that.”

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