Nature inspires her.
The eclectic, nature-inspired artwork of Wendy Burton of Humboldt has been installed at the Humboldt and District Museum and Gallery for March and April, in the space devoted to local artists.
Almost everything is included in this mixed media exhibit — from photos of round bales and rainbows taken on sojourns around the province to canvases decorated with acrylic paints, transfers and words. There’s even a piece of fabric art — something Burton says she has gotten away from in recent years.
“I love nature,” she said, looking at her exhibit up on the wall.
“Practically all the pieces have something to do with nature or that kind of thing,” she said.
Trees, clouds, flowers, abstract figures and words all feature heavily in Burton’s work, as do the colours blue and purple.
She loves to use recycled materials in her art, she said, pointing to what was formerly a calendar holder. Using paint, transfers and dried plants, it’s been transformed into a piece called “A tribute to Nature, whom I love.”
“I love using transfers, typically as a layer,” Burton said, pointing to the image of a bunny under a layer of paint.
“Texture is really important to me. I think that comes from nature... a seeking within myself to always find different layers within myself.”
Burton began creating art about a decade ago. She’s totally self-taught, learning things online and from magazines.
She loved art as a child growing up near Serath, she said, but at that time, “it was not typical to go into art.... there were not as many job opportunities.”
Then about 10 years ago, stress and depression were huge problems in Burton’s life.
“I was given time... to do writing. I did a lot of poetry... just words coming out of me,” she said. Then a friend suggested she try some of the visual arts as well.
“Initially, I was not sure if I wanted to do that. Then I started finding things online... blogs and magazines.... I started playing around with it, and I just came to love it.”
Some of her work springs from pages of her journals — a photo of one of those pages is included in the exhibit. To create it, she used oil pastels and spray ink. Then she used Photoshop to add words to it and bring it into its present state.
Inspirational words are something found quite often in her work, she noted.
She will even take an old book, create a new cover, and paint over the pages inside with new words and images she finds inspirational.
Burton likes using natural dyes, like cabbage, which turns paper a beautiful blue colour, she said, and even tea.
Much of how she creates her art is a natural process. She has “found” faces in her paintings, she noted, sketching them to make them clear to others.
And she has stumbled upon subjects for her photos, catching a church near Carmel and a double rainbow, when the light conditions were just right.
One piece in her display was actually created from a cereal box. Showing the figure of a woman, the piece is layered with transfers and stamps that Burton makes herself.
This piece, she said, called “Looking Beyond” is almost a self-portrait, and she thinks there’s a healing aspect to it that she and others have felt.
Burton is calling her display “A Self Journey,”