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Brett Varney

My inspiration is born from the works of the Impressionists and Abstract Expressionists - Think Van Gogh meets Kandinsky at Gustave Klimt’s house. I am fascinated by the ability of intense color and texture of line to convey an emotional expression from the artist to the viewer. Working with vivid color oil pastel, I create images that are recognizable to welcome the viewer into the scene. “Color is power that directly influences the soul.” — Kandinsky By using the hand cut metallic leaf on some of my works , I have stepped up the energy level of these pieces with the reflective brilliance that only a metallic surface can provide. I draw because it makes me feel good and energized, and I want the viewer to experience that same energy that inspires me to create. My use of black outlines around the shapes are deliberate and necessary and intend only to define and intensify the emotion of my work. My imagery is taken from my travels and from my mind’s eye. I want a finished work that I can proudly say purely represents my vision. Background My artistic background begins with illustrating a magazine named “Corny” in grade 5 - it had a distribution of one, myself. My family and I were involved in the art industry from early on. We sold hand-coloured etchings and pastel drawings by my step-mother to galleries and directly to the public at various arts festivals. After graduation (1988) from the University of Washington in Seattle, where I grew up, I moved to Bellingham WA.

My full-time art started there. I originally specialized in original serigraph printmaking. In 1997, I took up oil pastel drawing as my medium of choice and discovered a new freedom of drawing spontaneously versus the meticulously planned out serigraph stencil making and printing. In 2007, My partner and I moved North and settled on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast and later were granted Citizenship. The move to BC has been quite inspiring, so much so, that I find that my style shifted slightly more toward a abstracted landscape view. The colours are deeper and the elements of design are more freestyle. To this day I continue on the family tradition of selling my original art and reproductions directly to the public through juried art festivals in Canada and the US as well as through private galleries and my home studio in Sechelt BC. I guess you can say that I draw in the negative-space. I always work on black surfaces, bringing the light out of dark. I have always worked on black - even back in my serigraph days. I prefer to draw with a combination of Holbein, and Sennelier Oil Pastels. They have that nice rich colour I like. The surface I prefer is a Arches Cover Black watercolour paper. More recently, I have been having a great time working on black gesso covered, cradled wood canvas. The panels allow the artwork to be displayed without needing to be framed and offers a more contemporary look. Whether on paper or panel, I give my work its unique look by adding hand-cut metallic leaf. Although, gold-tone in colour, its really a copper-based variegated leaf. I paint with gold-leaf sizing onto my surfaces and apply the cut pieces of leaf. I then trim with a small knife and brush away the cutaway pieces. Its all quite labour intensive, but that’s what gives every piece its own unique energy.

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