Leah-Rose Traverse

I was born and raised in Fernie, surrounded by a large family and a bountiful wilderness. These mountains have served as a haven for all 23 years of my life. Growing up in Fernie was dreamlike; endless days wandering in the forest behind our home, long bike rides and runs, camping and canoeing all over the valley, and days spent fishing wherever our parents took us. I can’t say that my pastimes have changed dramatically since I was a child, but I can say that the inspiration absorbed and the lessons learned in all those years have led me to being the ‘artist’ I am today.

As a child I read, excessively, and was taken by music as well. However, it was not until high school that I discovered my love for visual arts. A wonderful and quirky art teacher, Karen Diebert, pushed me to delve into this realm and once I got there I loved it. Through instruction and experimentation in high school I developed a love of painting, in acrylics, and followed with Fine Arts training at the University of Victoria. Here is where I found my niche and focus.

My experience earning my BFA at UVIC was very positive; through dialogue, reading, experimentation, challenges, criticism, friendships, and studio practice I learned a great deal about art in general and an even greater deal about my art. In my four years there my work developed from small, fragile, paper sculptures and paintings of the human body to small, fragile, cotton sculptures and paintings of woodpiles. My focus, on gentle beauty, did not ever change in those four years but it did become clearer.

My work relies on small moments that are mind blowing; a burning patch of sun fallen on a rough pile of wood, a fisherman’s eyes in the misty wind, or cans strewn around smoking coals. Most of my paintings come from photos that I take of tiny instances or scenes that strike me. Some of my paintings come from photos I come across that strike me just the same. Essentially, I attempt to capture the feeling of still beauty in unexpected and quiet places. Along with this, my work began to focus on the idea of the rustic and rural; woodpiles are my main focus and will probably be for some time. Something about living off the land and appreciating simplicity really moves me. Herein lie my roots.