Yolanda Yang is offering an eight-week Chinese brush painting at the VISAC Gallery starting Sept. 25. Yang is an accomplished Shanghai art teacher

Yolanda Yang is offering an eight-week Chinese brush painting at the VISAC Gallery starting Sept. 25. Yang is an accomplished Shanghai art teacher

Combining Chinese painting and culture

Artist says West Kootenay region reminds her of home in China

A first-time class at the downtown Trail art gallery gives novice painters a chance to dip into Chinese painting techniques while learning a little history about traditional Asian culture.

Chinese painting lessons at the VISAC Gallery begin next Thursday at 3 p.m. and will run for eight weeks under the tutelage of Yolanda (Shuo) Yang.

Yang is a 30-year old fashion designer and art major who is new to Trail.

She is far from her homeland city of ShiYan in the northwest province of Hubei, China.

But during her drive from theLower Mainland through the West Kootenay region, Yang was reminded of her birth city and the surrounding Wudang Mountain range, which houses one of the most important cultural centres of the Taoist faith.

“I love Trail so much,” said the soft spoken Yang. “There’s a famous city, Shiyan, where all the houses and factories are on a mountain like Trail,” she explained. “So when I drove here for the first time, I told my husband that I feel like I am back home.”

Yang began studying traditional Chinese painting at the age of nine, and since that time, has received and art degree from Shanghai University and taught children at the metropolis’ famous international school called Soong Ching Ling Multicultural Division.

While she was instructing foreign children in the school’s art program, Yang said her English needed some improvement, so she enrolled in a class to improve her knowledge of the language.

It was there she met her English teacher, Alain Millette, a B.C. native who later became her husband.

“I learned English and one year later we started dating,” she said with a giggle. “I was happy with him so we got married.”

But after seven years of living abroad, her husband was ready to return to Canada and resume his former career in the trades.

Last year, the couple landed in Victoria during Christmas, but Alain, an electrician, couldn’t find work on the coast.

Three months ago, a job opportunity opened at the Waneta Dam, and the pair hopped in their car and relocated to Trail.

Since that time, Yang has been continuing English classes through Columbia Basin Alliance for Learning (CBAL).

Through CBAL instructor Carolyn Amantea, Yang was introduced to VISAC’s artistic director, then given the chance to share her knowledge of Chinese painting and culture with people in Greater Trail.

“First, I don’t say I teach,” she explained. “I say I share my skill because Chinese painting is free style, easier and more relaxed.

“I’ll show how other Chinese artists (paint), and you can chose the way you like.”

Each of the eight lessons will focus on different subject matter and Yang said she will talk about its cultural relevance during the class.

Yang explained that traditionally, Chinese painting uses rice paper as a medium, but she’ll talk about that significance in Asian culture and how the paper has evolved into something more modern than its historical handmade layers of cotton and fibres.

“There is also thousands of brushes but choosing one is like wine tasting,” she said.

“And I’ll talk cultural, like if we paint a goldfish. It won’t be about (replicating) a goldfish, but what a goldfish means in China. And there are many stories.”

Yang’s class is one of many fall courses and workshops slated to begin at the gallery next week.

After being allotted a $7,000 grant through the Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Initiatives and Affected Area program, VISAC upgrades include a refreshed colour palette in the studio, a new pottery wheel and additional potters’ tools.

For more information, visit visacgallery.com or call 364.1181.

Just Posted

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

Trees blown over by a windstorm in forest owned by Anderson Creek Timber. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Most Read