Gracing the back cover of the winter edition of the Arts Scene is the art of Natasha Louise, titled “North Star”. There’s a touch of magic in her art, transporting the viewer to a place where the stars shine, the snow glistens, and the animals peer out from behind vibrant evergreens. We touched base with Natasha to get a glimpse inside this stunning world of beautiful art…
Give us the 60-second elevator pitch on your creative work:
The way we live our lives is art in itself and putting colours on canvas is how I live mine. I don’t really know how to put the words together to describe it. If I HAD to describe my art I’d say I paint stylized landscapes predominately influenced by northern landscapes focused on the blending of bright colours and the simplification of line and form. I want to portray the beauty of nature and my love of both painting and the mountains and this has led to the surreal quality of my pieces.
What does your workspace look like?
I paint everywhere. Usually on the kitchen floor or outside. I even take my paints with me in case I want to do some art on the go.
What does your creative process look like?
When I lived in Prince George I was painting more from my imagination, but after moving to Squamish a year ago I’ve been so inspired by the natural landscape, by Black Tusk, the Howe Sound, and The Chief, that I haven’t had to make it up. My boyfriend is a backcountry snowboarder and he takes incredible photos that I also work from. Mount Fee is on my to-do list.
When I decide on what I’m going to paint I don’t sketch it. I look at the landscape, or the photo, get the shapes in my head and then I put brush to canvas. I just go and see how it turns out. I let the painting unveil itself.
How has your art evolved?
Since moving to Squamish, the landscape has changed drastically and I am inspired constantly by the beauty around me. I’m constantly imagining my next painting. My art has evolved over the years as I have practiced and begun to develop my own unique style, which I didn’t always feel I had. The constant support over the years has allowed me to continue to do what I love and be challenged.
When was the first time that you recognized that you were an artist and when did you realize you could follow that path?
I think we are all artists, no matter what our form of creative expression is. My favourite quotes is from Henry Miller and he says “To make living an art, that is the goal.” It’s funny that even now I have a hard time calling myself an artist, I always say I’m a teacher. I think maybe one moment that sticks out in my mind of feeling like a real artist is when I had my art displayed during the Canada Winter Games in Prince George in 2015 alongside Roy Henry Vickers, whom I met for the very first time.
I am always painting. I always make time for it – every single day. I feel like my journey as an artist is unfolding on its own. I do it because I love it and the rest falls into place. I never set out to be an artist, it’s just who I am and what I love. Money has nothing to do with it – I just want to share a bit of myself.
Who, or what has impacted your life most?
Art has impacted my life the most. I’m always on the go. I’m a hyperactive and anxious person; art grounds me and gets me through life. I feel steady and calm when I’m painting. I find it meditative.
Since I moved here I’ve been surrounded by a lot more art. The Sea to Sky seems to have more of a connection with its artists and there’s more support. This is definitely going to impact my art.
What do you want people to think, or feel when they look at your work?
I want them to feel inspired. When they look at one of my paintings I want it to be a break from their everyday life, the opportunity to slip into the make-believe. That’s why I use a lot of bright colours and those iconic landscapes. I want to connect people to the landscape around them, remind them of a special place they’ve been and what that felt like.
I want to remind them that the world is really beautiful.
What’s it like to be an artist today?
It’s great. People, for the most part, are supportive and encouraging. When you reach out in this community people are really helpful. I feel like when you put your heart into something you really love then it draws people to you.
What advice do you have for other artists who might be struggling to either find a voice, niche or make it work financially?
Practice, practice, practice, whatever it is that you are pursuing – do it everywhere and bring it with you wherever you go.
Put your heart into it. Follow your gut. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. I’ve never taken an art class in my life. I’ve followed my own heart and done what feels right to me. When you put the time and effort in then you get better naturally. Some people are focused on learning a certain technique and taking classes, but my advice is to have a bit more of an organic approach.
Connect with people who are like-minded, who have the same values as you and will support you – spend time with them.
What keeps you motivated to create?
What’s next for you? What are you working towards?
I’m working on a few commissioned pieces, and a live painting event happening at the Audain Art Museum. I’m also teaching yoga and art camps in Prince George so I’m working towards that, but I’m mostly focusing on what I want to paint.
If you could recommend some other artists’ Instagram feeds that you feel are important to follow who would it be?
@rp_roberts – for his incredible mountainscapes and blending of ink and paint.
@renan_ozturk – for his passion for mountaineering and art, whether it be photography, video, paint or charcoal
@milestoland – for finding beauty in decay. His painting style merges naturalistic human forms with transcendental designs structured by mandalas and geometric patterns.
How does it feel to have your art on the front cover of the Art Scene?
It’s so cool.
When I was in my 20’s before I was really serious about painting, I was traveling through a tiny town in B.C. I stopped at a store that had a little gift shop attached to it. They sold greeting cards and I just had to have one. It had a mamma and baby polar bear on it and a short description of the artist on the back – Vanessa Stark, whom I’d never heard of before. I kept the card on my shelf for years. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was asked by Arts Whistler to be part of the Arts Scene magazine cover art. A picture of mine would go on the back cover and on the front a piece by Vanessa Stark. Although I’ve never met her in real life, it was her card that was one of my very first art inspirations.
It was an amazing welcome from the arts community in the Sea to Sky to be part of such a project.
Post by Dee Raffo
Originally from the U.K., Dee followed her love of the snow to the mountains and never left. She’s been honing her writing craft online, in print, and on TV for the past 12 years and her byline can be found in both local and national publications. She loves to ski, bike, hike, and then binge on Netflix.