My husband Harman and I see the Canadian Rocky Mountains as our main inspiration for Harman’s landscape and wildlife paintings and my landscape, abstract, impressionist and floral stained-glass mosaics. From our home in Fernie, we travel the length and breadth of the mountains we love and where we have lived for 50 years.
As a teenager, I took art courses (painting, sketching, pottery) with my mom, an artist in Nelson. Later, I began creating quilts, loving the colours, fabrics and patterns. After a mosaic course where I discovered the beauty of stained glass and learned the basics, I collected the tools and materials and began to do mosaics. I expanded my knowledge base and learned tricks of the trade thanks to friends and mosaic artists around the world that I’ve met online. My abstract mosaic won first prize for ‘Emerging Artist’ at a juried Kootenay/Columbia art show and a number of my mosaics are featured in a mosaic how-to book. Sometimes Harman will adapt one of my sketches in a painting or I will copy one of his paintings.
Harman was always confident he could draw and paint and around 20 years ago, he created his first pencil sketch, of a tree. Using kids’ coloured pencils, he did a few sketches then bought a beginner’s set of acrylic paints and started painting. He entered an early painting, “Munro Lake Elk” in a juried art show in Cranbrook and was given a Robert Bateman book as a prize for ‘Most Life-Like Presentation of Wildlife.’
He became serious about painting and visits major art galleries where he studies the brush strokes and layering of colours by the Impressionists and other artists. He also visits places where major artists have painted to see how they interpreted the landscapes for colour and compositions. Putting it all together, he works on his own compositions. He uses acrylic paint like watercolours and applies it in thin layers, usually with a hog hairbrush. He feels his paintings are never finished until he has captured the mood of the place.
Together we walked in the footprints of Vincent VanGogh in Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, Claude Monet at his Giverny pond, garden and studio in France, Tom Thomson at Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park and members of the Group of Seven in Yoho and Banff Parks as well as Banff artists, Catharine and Peter Whyte.
We enjoy meeting people at markets and at the Fernie Arts Co-op (where I have my art). People ask how mosaics are made and where certain scenes in paintings are, or they want to share a poignant memory related to an artwork. Talking to people reinforces the shared experiences of artists and viewers; every artwork tells a story—not only our experiences but those of the viewer as well.
Any time of the year, we may be found outside near home or far away looking for art inspiration. We daydream about returning to favourite places across Canada and in the National and Provincial Parks as well as checking off places on our wish lists such as the fall colours in Eastern Canada and seeing the Far North. We hope people enjoy seeing the world through our eyes.
Delyea Art can be seen on our website (delyeaart.com), Instagram, and at the Fernie Arts Co-op.