Something different yet very familiar will open the VISAC Gallery’s fall season on Friday.
Rossland’s well known artist Ingrid Baker, now using her maiden name de Jong, is returning to the area for a month-long showing of 30 acrylic semi-abstract paintings.
After drawing inspiration from the West Kootenay mountains for 33 years, de Jong moved her life to the B.C. coast four years ago, and now she works from an ocean front studio in Qualicum Beach.
Instead of the Monashee range being the backdrop to her creative vision, the seasoned painter draws artistic influence from gentle waves and sandy beaches, or what she refers to as ‘skyscapes.’
“Since I was a child right up to adulthood, I dreamed and puzzled about what it would be like to live on the beach.” said de Jong. “Not across the street from it, right on it. And I am inspired by a lot of things on the beach, so it’s been wonderful.”
Since relocating to Vancouver Island, de Jong has continued to evolve her gift with the brush by taking part in various workshops run by renowned international and coastal artists.
She was strongly influenced last year by New Mexico artist Gwen Fox’s classes that directed de Jong into the abstract world of design and colour.
“It’s always been bubbling in me,” de Jong said. “I’ve always liked abstract and strong colour if I look at my paintings over the last 10 years. And it’s this year that I am beginning to pick out what I really like, to work into my own style.”
De Jong’s watercolours of the Greater Trail area have been part of Trail gallery shows throughout the years, but “Something Different” is her first solo exhibit at the VISAC that highlights her semi-abstract style in acrylic.
“I’ve been an artist for 40 years, which makes me sound really old,” she chuckled. “But my style is ever changing and I never stay still. I always want to get better.”
The VISAC is hosting an opening reception for de Jong’s exhibition that evening from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., and the artist will be at the event, looking forward to visiting with friends she hasn’t seen in awhile.
“I’m really happy to be coming back to see my friends,” she said, adding, “And I’m happiest working in the semi abstract. There’s something real in it, but other things are only suggested.”
De Jong is a member of the Arrowsmith Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and professional development of artists, and services for art collectors.
She graduated from the University of British Columbia with art as her major and later studied at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Switzerland.