Vanderhoof painter wants to make the town an artists hub

Vanderhoof painter wants to make the town an artists hub

Magdalena Saito is exhibiting 30 of her paintings at the Vanderhoof library

A local painter is exhibiting 30 of her paintings that she worked on during paint nights at the YMCA of Northern BC.

Magdalena Saito of Vanderhoof, dreams of the day the District will have an arts centre. Her idea of an arts facility includes having one space for different artists of the community — theatre actors, musicians, painters, photographers, etc. Such a space would allow visitors to have a taste of the varied art forms we have in our region considering the rich cultural heritage of the First Nations communities as well.

This facility, Saito added, can be a part of the Vanderhoof visitor’s centre so tourists can come and have a first-hand look at the different local art work.

“Vanderhoof was supposed to be a place where artists came to write. And I would just love if the town could be one of those artist destinations for people driving through the summer,” she said.

What Saito is referring to in history is Herbert Vanderhoof’s wish to build a retreat for writers when he saw the region, as we was in awe of the beauty.

Her exhibition will be running at the Vanderhoof library until mid-May. Most of the exhibited work is acrylic, with some exceptional oil paintings. But the subject for all of Saito’s paintings is different.

“So on one of the walls is just the paint night at the YMCA that shows people what you can achieve in a small amount of time and the other wall is stuff where you take a little longer, but they are all very different because I am trying things all the time. I still haven’t found a specific way I like to paint. Still trying to discover that,”she said.

When Saito was a kid, she remembers how art always intrigued her, but the lack of accessibility made it difficult for her to pursue art full time. She recollects growing up in high school with an art teacher, “who made me feel like if it wasn’t Leonardo Da Vinci, don’t even bother,” Saito recalls humored by the past.

“Plus going into secondary, it didn’t seem like a plausible job. But now that I have time to unwind, with the kids being older, I have been attending art nights here every Monday from 7pm to 9pm. It’s free and I just had to collect all the paints I had been putting aside over years and started painting again,” she said.

Now Saito teaches painting on Thursdays evening in two batches – 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm usually for kids, followed by a session with adults from 7 pm until 9pm.

For people intimidated by painting, but are curious and want to give it a shot, Saito says keep trying and explore.

“Some people will say copy something you like and try to learn how they do it. Other times it is just to do something different. Try something you don’t necessarily like, to see how it makes you feel. And don’t be judgmental of your work at the beginning… I think patience is also a big one when it comes to getting into painting,” Saito said.

There are a lot of artists in town Saito said, and she dreams of a day there could be art everywhere, “in schools, classes, paint Vanderhoof, put some sculptures, some murals and just make the town a destination where people can walk around and enjoy art.”

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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