While giving a workshop at Hollyhock a few summers ago, a painter stood out to me as a maker of bold strokes. Her brush flicked here and there over a cadmium ground, laying in tree and driftwood shapes and casually daubing at counterpoints. Steady in pace and intent, her completed work built up around her like a thickening forest.
The following spring, I got an email: “I’ve sold a big one. I’m going to use the money to join you in the Bugaboos.” In the mountains she distinguished herself as the first to rise, the first to complete and the first to do a handstand on the tundra while the helicopter lifted and disappeared behind the peaks. When she went missing at dusk, I found her behind the lodge, toqued and mittened, collecting alpenglow on an 8 x 10.
Stephanie Gauvin was born in Quebec, but lives in the ski-town of Rossland, B.C. where she paints, skis and hangs out with her kids. Like her brush, she’s energetic: printing catalogues, updating her website and blog, entering shows. She’s earned signature status at The Federation of Canadian Artists, a Ducks Unlimited National Portfolio and a Royal Canadian Mint series. As part of her evolution, she’s building gallery representation, too, and tomorrow is the opening of her own gallery in Rossland. “It all seems like an organic progression that brought me to have a downtown gallery,” she says — an open studio that will at times showcase the work of others — “where the art enthusiast can have a direct connection with the artist and vice-versa.”
Many other artists come to mind when I think of Stephanie’s route: multi-tracked and personal. “My work is my play; my ego made visible,” she says. And her own gallery? “A place of creation with a studio tucked in the back.”
PS: “I am intuitively following my creative path and have come to realize that it is a lifelong commitment.” (Stephanie Gauvin)
Esoterica: Can an artist be an artist and run a gallery, too? Perhaps we all fall somewhere within a spectrum of skills and the nature needed to go for it — and be happy. In March 1963, artist Jack Hambleton opened his namesake gallery in Kelowna, B.C. and created what continues to be a place to discover historic and contemporary Canadian art — most recently including the work of Stephanie Gauvin. “I love looking for things to paint, and I love painting and I love framing them and seeing them in a gallery,” said Jack, “but more than anything, I love to sell them.”
“Keep your shop and your shop will keep you.” (Benjamin Franklin)