Local artist chosen for CBC Nova Scotia realism calendar

Amanda Jess
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ARISAIG – When Jaye Ouellette moved to Nova Scotia from Toronto, she argued that she’d never start painting the ocean. 

Although she’d always had an attachment to water, it had never translated to the paintbrush, choosing instead to focus on figurative art.

Her ability to capture the push and pull of the high seas seems like it would take a lifetime to perfect, but she did it in less than a decade.

“It wasn’t a conscious change. I didn’t realize it was happening,” she says of the switch in subjects. “It’s such a powerful thing. It changes from second to second,” she says of water, adding that it’s ancient while fragile.

CBC Information Morning is now recognizing her talent for their 2015 Sharing The View Calendar, their fifth and final version of the project.

Out of 112 submissions, Ouellette was one of four marquee artists chosen to paint an image of Nova Scotia realism that could be photographed for a calendar and auctioned off with proceeds going to Feed Nova Scotia.

Ouellette and three other artists now have to narrow 88 submissions to eight for the remaining pages.

She hasn’t yet decided what she’ll paint for the calendar, and has a challenge on her hands, tasked with a square canvas rather than her familiar horizontal ones.

Ouellette is up for it though.

Although painting for a realism calendar and having recently showed her work in a realism show at Dalhousie University, she still struggles with the label.

“I never call myself that,” she says, reluctantly allowing herself to be part of that group.

The issue she has with that title is it may not encompass the emotions of the work.

She works from her own photographs, but it’s more than a recreation of an image.

Her wave painting, Thelxiope, is meant to evoke the feeling behind the Greek myth of the siren – a beautiful, but dangerous creature that would lure sailors to shore and shipwreck.

It also captures the different moods of the ocean – from calm and serene to angry and bitter, using all the colours in her palate, rarely simply shades of blue.

Her level of detail can take up to 80 hours to complete.

“The best part is when they’re done,” she says, adding that there’s always an ugly stage – invisible by the time it’s finished.



On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda 

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