An intriguing exhibit of wildlife art will be displayed at The Gallery @ Weird Church, opening on Jan. 29. The featured artist, Heather Soos, is a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists, a U.S.-based society with more than 500 members worldwide, including many of the world’s leading animal sculptors and painters. Her artwork has been juried into the society’s annual “Art and the Animal” exhibition for several consecutive years.
Soos was born in Victoria and enjoyed drawing animals from an early age. She began painting wildlife in her early 20s, after taking art courses at university and through correspondence. She began painting birds in gouache and later switched to acrylic on hardboard after discovering this was Robert Bateman’s medium of choice.
“In creating a piece of wildlife art, my intention is to create something powerful and unique that speaks about the subject,” said Soos. “I want to draw the viewer into the scene so they can recognize and experience that piece of nature.”
Often inspiration originates from personal experience, but it could come from anywhere; a unique photograph, a video or a fascination with the pattern or colour of an animal. She spends a lot of time composing and executing a work of art to capture the beauty and character of the subject. Working in detail, and aiming to create a sense of ‘virtual reality’ with paint or other medium produces something aesthetically pleasing.
Soos works primarily in oil, acrylic and scratchboard.
A highlight in her career was being named ‘National Artist of the Year’ by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) in 2008. Her painting of three Trumpeter Swans at the Dyke Road estuary in Courtenay was made into 5,000 prints and auctioned across the United States and Canada as part of DUC’s program to raise funds for wetland conservation.
Travelling and living in different locations throughout Canada and abroad with her military husband, also a skilled amateur photographer, has given Soos opportunities for artistic inspiration. In addition, the travel allowed her to discover new wildlife and natural environments, and exhibit her work internationally.
Music for the opening will be provided by Duetto, with violin by Theresa Hartwig and piano by Ardene Larrison.
The Heather Soos show will run until Feb. 19.
Community submitted art pieces will also be on display, as a part of the Climate Conversations ongoing series at Weird Church. See www.weirdchurchcumberland.com/climate-conversations for more information about how to become involved.
The Gallery @ Weird Church is located at 2688 Penrith Ave., Cumberland. Viewing hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 4-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 2-5 p.m., whenever the Gallery sign is displayed.
Vaccine passport and ID required. Donations to support The Gallery are appreciated.