Since making the valley her new home in 2013, veteran artist Elizabeth Segstro has allowed the natural surroundings to have a strong affect on her latest work.
She recently produced a series of wildlife illustrations as graphite sketches, which candidly capture local nature in a raw and detailed shaded format.
“Graphite is like black pencil crayon — it works like charcoal, but lasts forever, you can’t smudge it,” Segstro said, adding that drawings she created 40 years ago don’t look any older than her most recent series.
Currently, Segstro is working on a second series of local wildlife creations, which will be depicted as full colour lithographs.
While she’s been practising for her whole life, Segstro received her first credentials as an artist in 1973 after studying commercial art at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary.
“It shows you a whole way of looking at things,” she said about the experience.
Nearly 20 years later, she enrolled in a post-graduate computer animation program at Sheradon College in Oakville, which led her to become the founder and owner of an advertising agency in Oakville through the early 1990s.
“Art school was based on the drawing with the right side of the brain, where you learn to think and feel like an artist,” she said. “My husband wonders how can I stick blobs of red and green and whatever, and then you step back and see that it’s a bird.”
Her favourite educational growth came in 1995 at the Master Visual Studios in Toronto, when she had the opportunity to practise life drawing.
“That really affected me. And it got me a job with Walt Disney Studios.”
And while she’s contracted her work out to some of the biggest names in entertainment, Segstro can be easily commissioned as an artist later this year as she’ll be offering caricature sketches each week at the Invermere Farmers’ Market.
When she’s not commissioning her work and has free rein over her creativity, she expresses it with subjects from nearby .
“I wanted to do something that reflected the valley. I wanted to do a series of birds for that same reason, and capture places like the Toby Theatre, Invermere Bakery, the cenotaph, and the inukshuk.”
Segstro’s work will be featured in the opening exhibit of Pynelogs’ art gallery season, which takes place between Friday, May 12th and Sunday, May 24th.