Inspiration in Solitude

Alice Park-Spurr isn’t afraid of the vast remote distance between her homestead and the rest of the world — she thrives on it.

She left the buzzing hive of cities behind, moving from a job at Hewlett-Packard in California, to break ground with her husband in the remote landscape around Tagish Lake.

The move from city to country greatly influenced her painting, as her artwork focuses predominantly on the mysterious landscape of the great North.

Her North is a place where imagination and reality blend and become one. Park-Spurr is a dedicated painter, a professional since completing school at the California College of the Arts, earning a BFA and MA in art.

After escaping the busy working world, she and her husband packed up a W bus and lived a very different life. “Yes, the Yukon was certainly a big change from California, but one we welcomed and embraced. We are enraptured with it,” says Park-Spurr.

“The Yukon was my husband’s Shangri-La,” she says of the decision to move from California to the Yukon. The vast wilderness, the untouched beauty of the land called out to her and her husband, and they have never wished to move since.

Living in a remote cabin has its challenges, but what it lacks in accessibility, it makes up for in living, breathing inspiration. “I step outside and I am surrounded by lake, forest, mountains and animals. All I have is the cabin, and wilderness,” says Park-Spurr.

The quiet atmosphere is very conducive to creation, according to Park-Spurr. She has time to focus on painting, on the very act of condensing years of training to perfect a single brushstroke.

Her artwork is ghostlike, real images washed with dreams. Park-Spurr looks to her dreams, thoughts and hopes when she paints landscapes, allowing them to go beyond the staid expectations of tree, mountain and lake.

“My landscapes for the show are of recognizable Yukon areas, although with a different take on them,” says Park-Spurr.

She expects to have 12 to 14 pieces prepared for her show, which will be called,Whispering Colour. Soft purples, rich reds, oranges and yellows evoke a gentle, strong image of the Yukon.

“I paint not just what I see, but from my memories, and what has long gone past. My experiences are also reflected in my artwork,” she says. The challenge of remote living is not difficult for her; it is something that feeds her soul and her art.

Her artwork can be seen at galleries throughout the Yukon, and she has enjoyed the support of Yukon galleries with previous shows at Arts Underground and the Yukon Arts Centre. She also takes part in artist collectives in Prince George and has work in galleries in California.

Her newest show, Whispering Colour, opens at the Copper Moon Gallery at 3 Glacier Drive, on Friday, July 9, with an opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m. The show runs until the end of July.

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