Local artist Joyce Campbell with one of her paintings of the rugged landscape of Baffin Island that will be at the Group of Nine Art Show and Sale this weekend.

Local artist Joyce Campbell with one of her paintings of the rugged landscape of Baffin Island that will be at the Group of Nine Art Show and Sale this weekend.

Translating the vast Arctic

Theme for Joyce Campbell's latest exhibition with Group of Nine.

Joyce Campbell is smitten with the Arctic.

It is the current theme for the local artist’s work.

She loves the landscape and feels overwhelmed by it every time she visits her daughter on Baffin Island.

Each time she returns to her home in Maple Ridge, she can’t wait to put her paintbrush to canvas, although she finds the vast expanse of the arctic difficult to translate.

“You think it would be easy. I’m there, I’ve photographed it. Look at it, it’s beautiful. It’s amazing,” Campbell said from home.

“Gradually, I started to realize that you have to put in lots of sky. It’s the sky that’s overwhelming. There are no trees. There is an enormous amount of light. And wind,” said the artist, who paints in water colour and acrylics.

Campbell has no choice but to photograph the landscapes she wants to paint.

There is no such thing as plein air painting in the arctic. During the winter, it can be minus−30 C, and windy.

“Even the camera, you can take one or two shots and then it goes next to the breast again to warm up or back in the pocket,” explained Campbell, adding that even when the weather warms up there are too many bugs to paint in the open air.

One of her pieces was painted from a photograph of rocks dotted with orange lichen, taken in the autumn of 2010.

“I wanted to experiment to show its absolute stark ruggedness,” said Campbell.

She sees the arctic as orange and her painting reflects that, adding warmth to an otherwise bleak landscape.

Another one of her paintings is a winter scene of the mountains on the east coast of Baffin Island, done in different shades of blue with subtle hints of pink.

“How do you get it to look sharp and massive and cold, like if you had your hands it would cut,” the artist asks of her work.

These works and the rest of the local artist’s recent explorations of the arctic tundra can be seen at the newest Group of Nine exhibition, happening this weekend.

The show will also feature acrylic pieces by Florence Nicholson, paintings of vintage trucks by Jean Abbott, misty water colour landscapes by Margaret Bale, colourful abstracts by Suzette Fram, oil landscapes by Jane Duford Johnston and Jo-Anne Lewis, florals by Shirley Felgner, and miniatures painted by Betty Coy.

Each artist will also have their sketch books available for people to see their thought processes. They will also have all their materials to paint and demonstrate their techniques.

Campbell has been a member of the Group of Nine for seven years and said it offers great encouragement.

“We tend to really spur on each other’s creativity. That’s what we do,” said Campbell.

“What I like most about the group concerning art is the excitement that comes from sharing a passion together. You bounce off each other with ideas and technique.”