Jessica Gowling’s exhibit

Artist draws inspiration from Kootenay wildlife

“Within the Wilderness,” opened Thursday at the VISAC Gallery on Helena Street in downtown Trail and will run until Oct. 25.

Kootenay artist Jessica Gowling creates fine art prints by understanding what lies within and then working her way out.

Gowling’s exhibit, “Within the Wilderness,” opened Thursday at the VISAC Gallery on Helena Street in downtown Trail and will run until Oct. 25.

“Illustrating wildlife and nature is my passion,” said Gowling.“This particular series of animal prints was inspired by a teacher who suggested that you cannot know what is on the outside unless you know what is on the inside,” explained Gowling. “The natural world is an easy place to go and to understand what I am drawing I study the animal’s skeletal structure first to create texture and line.”

Gowling discussed a piece from the showcase that depicts a portrait of wolves. “It took me a long time to complete this piece because I thought the legs looked flat and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong,” she said. “It took me looking into their musculature and bone structure to realize the that there is not a lot of flesh between the bone and skin.

“Understanding that is how I could draw the portrait with depth and shape.”

The exhibit features traditional hand-pulled prints that Gowling creates without the use of a digital media or computer support.

“Traditional print making is really how we used to disseminate information,” said Gowling. “And it is quite technical and laborious, “she said, adding “basically it is technique used to transfer information from one surface to another.

“Kind of like a rubber stamp.”

Gowling uses lino and wood to carve an image to create a plate stamp or stencil. Next, she applies custom mixed inks with a heavy rag paper to the design before transferring it to paper.

“Creating these fine art prints doesn’t require a computer,” said Gowling. “Just my two little paws and plenty of patience.”

Gowling is a recent transplant to the West Kootenay, having grown up in Calgary and worked in Invermere for the last few years.

“I moved to the mountains of British Columbia to pursue my dream of becoming a practising visual artist,” she said. “The inspiration behind my creative endeavours is literally at my fingertips every day.”

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