Cranbrook artist Marilyn Oliver will have her work displayed at site number three during the Tour of the Arts.

Tour of the Arts with The Valley Echo: Site no. 3

Her ability to embrace spontaneity is readily apparent in Marilyn Oliver's eye-catching art.

Editor’s note: This is the third instalment of a five-part series on the Tour of the Arts, Invermere’s annual art gala taking place on Sunday, August 5. Each of the five stories will feature one artist from every one of the five tour locations. Artist Marilyn Oliver’s art will be on display at site no. 3.

Her ability to embrace spontaneity is readily apparent in Marilyn Oliver’s eye-catching art. Bold colours, strong forms and fascinating textures are characteristic of her dynamic paintings, which will be on display at site number three in this year’s Tour of the Arts taking place on Sunday, August 5.

Returning to the tour for her second year, Oliver is excited to take part in what she refers to as a “world-class event.” Participating in the 2011 event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase her art, she said.

“Another memorable aspect to tour was meeting many new artists, some of whom have since become good friends,” said Oliver.

Having grown up in the Cariboo but a Cranbrook resident since 1964, Oliver finds creative inspiration in many things including music, colour, stormy weather and the work of other artists whom she admires.

She explains it was “a feeling” that drew her to put paint on a canvas for the first time in 1970. Since then, her work has evolved from general portraiture to colourful canvases incorporating acrylic, mixed media, and interesting textures. Her portfolio also includes Asian art, watercolour collage, art cards and encaustics.

A very old art, encaustics — “which means to burn in,” she said — relates to the use of heat as the solvent for coloured waxes. A technique development thousand of years ago, encaustics was the practice of making soul portraits for the dead from wax and earth pigments, applying them to thin wooden panels and binding to mummified bodies. At that time, the heat source used was charcoal, whereas now thermostatically-controlled electric tools are promoting a renewal of interest in this ancient art form, said Oliver.

What she finds unique and useful about encaustics is that if a picture does not turn out how she wants it, the wax can be adjusted by applying more heat.

Another one of her mediums, mixed media, tends to be a lot of acrylic as well as any objects she comes across that she finds interesting, such as African fabric, which she will cut out and put on the canvas as the overlay of a skirt, for instance.

“I get an inspiration, I get an idea and I just start going for it,” Oliver said.

Never straying too far from her studio, Oliver said at times her mind is drawn in many directions at once and she wants to translate these ideas to canvas immediately.

“Impulsivity seems to work for me,” she said.

White her work has evolved to include a variety of different mediums, she still does portraits and will have two with her for the tour, of Bob Dylan and Charlie Chaplin.

“I look forward to another amazing tour.” she said.

Oliver’s work will be on display at site number three of the Columbia Valley Arts Council’s Tour of the Arts on August 5, located at Invermere’s historic CPR Lodge. The other artists who will also be featured at this site are Kathleen Davies, Maureen Leitch, Pat Luders, Robyn Oliver, Anders Oseychuk, Rita Rankin, Jim Robertson, Marty Ryan and Kent Shoemaker.

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