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Updated: Mar 2, 2023

The Art of Planting Seeds of Beauty and Happiness

Spring is Laura Leeder’s favourite season. She eagerly anticipates the return of colour in the land, the scent of blossoms as new growth emerges on the trees and shrubs, and the return of new birdsong. It's an energising and hopeful time of year for Laura and she enjoys capturing these feelings in her paintings.

Born in Edmonton, collage artist Laura enjoyed many summer vacations in BC. Work kept Laura and her husband in Edmonton until early retirement opened up the opportunity to move and to settle in the Creston Valley.

Laura says: “I feel at home here in the Kootenays. I enjoy the small-town atmosphere and the warmth of the people. The beauty of the land in all seasons, takes my breath away.” Laura’s deep connection to nature and its colour and beauty influences all her artwork. According to Laura, “It might be a bush of wild roses along the roadside that calls to me. Or a fence line of yellow sunflowers with chickadees resting on their leaves.” Laura has spent countless hours working in her yard: developing the barren landscape, planting trees, shrubs, and flowers. As the landscape has matured it now provides protection and food for many feathered friends. Daily encounters with the amiable avifauna have impacted Laura deeply and she says: “I can’t imagine not including them in my paintings”.

Laura is mostly a self-taught artist and she took up painting as a much-needed creative outlet while working. Because of her love of gardening - a passion she shared with her mother - Laura was drawn to still lives, which she painted using watercolour paint for many years before discovering collage in 2019. Ever since, she has been enjoying the process of creating paintings using collage material, acrylic paints, stamps and stencils to develop intricate layers that create depth of colour and texture. Using further techniques reminiscent of art deco and stained glass, she adds in the final design of each painting.

Four years of exploring and experimenting with many techniques and methods; working with new material; and painting specifically on wood panels - always seeking to enhance her skills and artistic experience - have resulted in Laura’s signature style: expressive, playful paintings that help her share her passion for nature, her garden, and the many feathered friends that visit it. Laura pours herself into each artwork, planting moments of joy for the viewer to

discover between each intricate layer.

Laura’s explorations have cumulated in a collection of nature-inspired paintings that aims to bring people together and inspire them to consider their own connection to nature. This solo art exhibition titled "The Garden Awakens" provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone to join Laura on her journey of creating whimsical, heartwarming art and spreading hope, joy, laughter, and beauty.

When asked what her challenges were when creating this exhibition, Laura says: “To ensure that my paintings form a cohesive body of work, I strived to allow each painting to tell its own story while deliberately adding colour and design elements that created unison to the other paintings. As I put extra care and attention into these pieces, each took considerably more time to complete. Staying focused and on track was challenging at times as events in my personal life demanded attention. Planning for a show several months in advance requires extra discipline and organisation throughout the year!”.

According to Laura, the collage layer of each painting is the most fun to create, but she finds the whole process of completing a painting to be quite engaging. What Laura enjoyed the most about the creation of this exhibition is the final result. She says: “I am proud of the paintings I completed. As I look at each painting I can see an improvement in my design and colour choices and that is very satisfying”. Laura continues: “Knowing that my paintings positively impact people is a powerful affirmation of how my art adds meaning and is uplifting. This reinforces my desire and commitment to create paintings that personally connect with people in positive ways”.

Laura’s solo art exhibition will be on display at Art Gallery Kimberley in Kimberley’s Platzl from Wednesday, March 1st to Saturday, March 25th. Opening hours are: Wednesday through Friday 11 am - 6 pm, Saturday 11 am - 5 pm, and Sunday noon to 4 pm.

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