Elaine Van Staalduinen has worked in scratchboard, charcoal, pencil and mixed media, but it is the beauty of line and the honesty of black and white that excites her, perhaps most when she is rendering images from the natural world.
For her new exhibition Burnt, Bent and Broken: The Tree Series in Ink, now showing at the Nelson Public Library, she honed observational skills and technique, delighting in the twists and turns of her subjects and working to discover their mysteries.
“Give me a tree where the curves are visible and the central form is not lost in the leaves or needles. Better yet, make it an old tree with wounds and scars, broken limbs with ragged edges and snapped pieces because I love trying to draw my way through the complexity,” she says. “I also love how it feels to move the pen or brush through curves and lines, and see black define an image onto white.”
The exhibition features five beautifully-rendered trees, including The Abandoned Almond, The Front Lawn Apple, The Twisted Chestnut Stump, The Fantasy Tree, and The Bonzai (pictured at left). Van Staalduinen uses technical or crow quill pens in an ink and wash technique that allows for detail, depth and subtlety.
A life and art coach influenced by life in Spain and in Canada, Van Staalduinen has shown her work and taught life coaching through art and Spanish in the West Kootenay since she moved to Procter in 2012.
“It is the energy that learning generates that drives me as an artist and it is the way that I ask questions that defines how I work as an art coach,” she explains. “Yes, I am an artist but perhaps for me, more importantly, I am a teacher. I have loved learning and helping others to experience their own learning processes in a self-observing manner. Creating art gives me the opportunity to explore using what I have within myself and then passing on to others what I learn through coaching art.”
More information about the artist is available at elainevanstaalduinen.com. The exhibition continues until the end of February.