As Sonja Zacharias sweeps colour onto her sheet of watercolour paper a scene quickly unfolds, blue sky and clouds with the swoosh of her brush, mountains with the swipe of an old credit card.
The watercolour artist’s tools sit around her — brushes of all shapes and sizes, a large palette with dabs of many different shades of blue and green, orange and red.
There is even a toothbrush, its bristles spattered with a rainbow of colour from using it to create her artwork.
Zacharias, who is from Clive, was one of the around 60 local artists showcasing their work at the 21st annual Red Deer Artwalk Festival, held at Rotary Heritage Village Park, on Saturday.
Artists were nestled among the trees and under tents showcasing their pottery and sculptures and displaying their acrylics and watercolours.
Styles ranged from the more realistic flowers and landscape paintings to custom jewelry, wooden sculptures and stained glass.
As Zacharias worked curious onlookers watched, and she answered their questions, as one of her majestic watercolour paintings appeared on the paper.
“Anything to create that texture is fun for me,” she said.
“There are so many elements out of my control. That is the adventure for me, things just happen. I love to see what is going to happen. It’s kind of a journey of discovery as I paint.”
Zacharias’ mother is a watercolour painter and so she first started to paint as an 11-year-old.
As a young woman she turned to other mediums, studying drama and doing costume and set design at Red Deer College, but she went back to watercolour painting.
When her children were smaller it was easy to rinse a brush and go, watercolour painting doesn’t require a big clean-up and there are no fumes to worry about.
Now Zacharias has shared her love of art with her 14-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter.
“It’s like coming home,” she said. “It’s familiar and free.”
The Artwalk event Saturday was the final event of a week that included a movie night, gallery tour and artists about town.
Janet Cole, one of the committee members who helped organize the event, said they expected around 4,000 to 5,000 people to visit the park on Saturday, with people having the chance to participate by carving or painting something.
“We’re trying to engage people and show them that we’re not all Rembrandts, but we can all make creative marks,” Cole said.
“Arts and Culture is what defines us and makes us human. It attends to our other needs, besides food, water and sleep.”