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Happiness through serious art

Lorraine Graves   Mar-08-2019

Catherine Adamson’s work, up close, gives a hint of the nature revealed from a distance.

Photo by Lorraine Graves

Few of us get the chance to re-assess our lives, decide priorities or change direction.

Sometimes the chance is a godsend, an opportunity that comes up. Other times it is forced upon us.



When a time for reassessment came for Catherine Adamson, “I decided I would choose to be happy,” she says.

And part of that choice was, in middle life, to go to art school. A former Langley school trustee, PAC member and stay-at-home mom, Adamson made a choice to stretch her skills and perceptions.

Falling in love with the work of Jackson Pollock, Adamson puts her raw canvases flat on the floor or, for smaller works, on a table then dribbles different paints, letting each thin ribbon of colour dry before she builds up the images with other hues.

“It doesn’t leave much room for mistakes but they can be integrated into the work,” Adamson says, pointing out an unexpected little blob that was later integrated into the work.

This is art with thought and depth, far from paint-by-number.

“I don’t sketch out the design ahead of time. I just do it as I go,” she says.

With each piece taking between a few hours and a month or more, the works have universal appeal through life’s ages and stages. Some of her pieces will fascinate small children while also enriching the lives of adults.

They are abstract up close but fully representative from a distance. Often drawing on themes from nature, flowers and grasses abound with each type of flower sparklingly clear from a distance, be they chrysanthemums or irises. Her fish, also looking like squiggled yarn drawings up close, seem to move through the eel grass when one takes a few steps back.

The opening saw many serious art collectors perusing Adamson’s work on display in the spacious Lipont Place. My companion for the evening saw a painting of fish they loved but the $6,500 price tag for the large piece was more than they could justify when their walls were already full at home.

When it comes to art, and wine, the rule is buy what you like and buy what you can afford. The smaller paintings are affordable for even a more modest collector’s budget but each evokes a clear emotion and scene.

Adamson’s choice to be happy shows in each canvas as it evokes a different mood from pensive to fun, moody to serene and even to joyous. Her choice is one we can all enjoy.

Catherine Adamson’s exhibit is up through March 28 at Lipont Place, across from Aberdeen Centre Skytrain station. Free admission and parking. Click for hours.

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