Strokes of character 0
For Gail Ann Bourgeois, who has been an avid painter for over 20-years, the true beauty of a piece comes from finding its character, whether it's a landscape or an animal.
"I started with the landscape, but, I just love animals and the birds of prey always fascinated me."
Bourgeois's specialty is in animal portraits.
The walls of her home studio are adorned with pieces of eagles and owls, along with landscapes, some drawn from photos, other from memory.
Bourgeois, who works with oil-based paints that can take some time to dry, laughingly admitted her husband built and put up shelves for her pieces to draw, after seeing how many new holes were appearing on the
Bourgeois grew up around art. She paints whenever she can, spending much of her time working at Women in Need Society or with her grand children.
Her sister is an artist as well as her father and her aunt.
Despite the years of experience and interest, it was only a few years ago she finally had the chance to sit down with her father, who lives in Quebec, and paint beside
She prefers doing pet portraits, to really capture the essence of the animal.
"It makes people really happy when you can get it bang on and really catch the character of the animal," she said.
"It makes a big difference, so I really do like to take my time. If you invest the time, the rewards are that much better."
Bourgeois' artistic process usually involves taking multiple pictures of the animal, or location, in order to get a feel not only for proportions, but personality.
It's in the eyes of the animals where she can bring out their character.
She has also been an active pet owner as well, having owned many cats and dogs.
Currently sharing the house is a cat left by her daughter to keep for two weeks.
Three years later, and it's still good company.
Bourgeois moved to Strathmore from Calgary with her husband eight years
She said the town has grown substantially since then, especially in the past year.
"There's a lot more talk about setting up an arts facility here and that's great, positive change for here. I think that will really boost the economy here. I think art should be in everybody's life, one way or another."
For her next project, Bourgeois hopes to do a piece on penguins.
For commissions, Bourgeois can be reached at 403-934-3549.