Lac La Hache artist Inspired by Nature in latest exhibit

Bonita Forsyth washes away her mistakes.

The artist said she is working on a painting inspired by a tree in her garden struck by lightning.

“I was fascinated by all the markings and the way the growth lines and cracks go in things,”

She added a cougar to the image. “It was interesting and I loved the colors and I even had offers from people who wanted to buy it.”

But she felt the need to work on it a little longer and eventually came across a very cheeky looking cougar in a wildlife magazine that seemed to fit her vision.

So she carefully washed away the old puma and started over.

As she flipped through an album of works she had worked on over the years, Forsyth paused occasionally to explain a problem she was having with one painting or another.

“They’re not all perfect and sometimes they don’t even look good, but I can see the finished product. So I know I can go ahead with this and it will work. But yeah, I do have those times when I like to wash it away.”

Her ‘Inspired by Nature’ exhibition, which runs February 24-March 25 at Parkside Gallery, is partly inspired by life at Lac La Hache.

There are so many places and so much wildlife in the area, she said.

“I think with the fur, the shape, the position of the animal and the look in the eyes you can really capture the soul of the animal.”

Forsyth is fascinated by the herons. They look so weird at first glance. One night she stood on the beach in front of the house and didn’t move.

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“This guy didn’t see me and landed on a piece of driftwood and I could actually see the moonlight coming through his wings. It was such a moment, I had to paint it.”

She loves the whole art of painting. “I can just go to my studio, turn on the music, and take my brush and research my subject, have my position and habits sketched out,” she said.

“And then I just lose myself. It’s just a very relaxing, meditative, happy state of mind when you’re taking the pictures.”

One day she realized that she had enough paintings for a solo exhibition, so she decided to give it a try after years of doing it just for fun or for friends.

She laughed as she said they were running out of wall space too.

Forsyth has also created a series of fantasy children’s books inspired by her artwork. She said that art inspires stories just as real life inspires her art.

Nibbles is a tiny white mouse who keeps appearing in her books. The original Nibbles is a mouse that she and her son rescued from a fox in their backyard. They nursed it back to health over the winter and released it back into the wild in the spring.

“I’ve never seen a white mouse like this in the wild,” she said.

She has also created a series of TikTok promotional videos promoting her children’s books with the help of her daughter-in-law, Raven Gentry.

The Parkside Gallery is currently closed after a vehicle crashed into the entrance last weekend. Call 250-395-2021 for opening date and hours.

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