Experimenting with abstract art

Moody storm paintings evolved out of studio experimentation by Red Deer artist Paul Boultbee.

Moody storm paintings evolved out of studio experimentation by Red Deer artist Paul Boultbee.

“I was trying to depict storms mono-chromatically,” said Boultbee — and the results can be seen in his Storm Warnings exhibit of mixed-media works at the Marjorie Wood Gallery in Red Deer’s Kerry Wood Nature Centre.

The abstract artist opted to experiment with items that were close at hand in his studio in downtown Red Deer. Boultbee found tissue paper and glued it, crinkled, to anchor a canvas.

When he painted over this texture with one colour, the wrinkles at the bottom of the work became reminiscent of flat Prairie ground or a dark sea.

With the tissue taking shape as land or roiling water, the monochromatic streaks he created with his paintbrush dipped in fast-drying acrylic paint began resembling a turbulent sky.

In the blue version, a lightning streak of white appears in his painted thunderstorm. “I let the paint fall where it would fall… and I also learned when to stop fiddling, said Boultbee, who saw this streak as a fortuitous accident. “I thought, don’t screw it up. Just step away…”

Boultbee used different colours to created different kinds of storm effects, from a blizzard in white paint to a firestorm in orange.

He believes these storm paintings are as representational as his art has ever been, and enjoys the drama he’s created on canvas.

“I like the effect of the sweeping strokes,” said Boultbee. He hopes the eight paintings in the exhibit will allow viewers to appreciate some of the colours that naturally appear in stormy skies, including greens and yellows.

“I love storms, so this was not therapeutic!” added the artist, with a chuckle.

Boultbee graduated from Red Deer College’s visual arts program in 2003 and works part-time as a RDC librarian. Storm Warnings runs to May 2. An opening reception will be held from 4-6 p.m. Friday at the gallery.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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