Here’s the thing about Nelson: Once you’ve lived here, you never want to leave. So when a job or family commitment pulls you away, you might find yourself plotting ways to get back.
Just ask Meghan Dauphinee. The Kootenay School of Arts grad lived in Nelson for six years before moving to Alberta with her partner who is attending school there. They’ve been in Wild Rose Country about a year now, and Dauphinee has spent much of that time in her Calgary art studio recreating scenes of her old Nelson stomping grounds.
The result is an exhibit of local streetscapes called It’s All Uphill currently hanging at Oso Negro Cafe. The collection of ten paintings (acrylic on canvas) feature familiar spots around town — the view from pulpit rock, heritage buildings on Ward Street and colourful homes in Uphill.
Working on the exhibit gave Dauphinee a good excuse to make regular trips back to Nelson to sketch and photograph places in town, which she would transfer to canvas back at her studio.
“I’m inspired by every day, familiar places,” Dauphinee says. “For this show, I painted a lot of places I would see all the time — houses I lived in, places I passed on my walk to work. I hardly noticed them at the time, but it’s those little things you miss when you leave.”
When she couldn’t make it back here, she’d look at the Google Street View images of Nelson online and paint from those. The Street View images were taken in the height of summer with a camera mounted on the top of a car, which offers a unique perspective.
“It’s like somebody very tall took all the pictures,” Dauphinee says. “I’m a very short person, so it’s a whole new way of seeing things.”
Dauphinee was back in Nelson this week to hang the exhibit. She says she hopes to move back some day.
“Like most Nelson expats, I definitely want to come back. It’s got a place in my heart for sure,” she says.
It’s All Uphill will be at Oso Negro Cafe for the month of May. All the paintings are for sale. See more of Dauphinee’s work at meghandauphinee.ca.