Wednesday, November 06, 2019


The Veil — Karen Blanchet

Tomorrow night is the Opening Reception for the show The Veil by Karen Blanchet! 
Exhibition coordinator Catherine McMillan sat down with Karen 
to ask a few questions....

I read in your bio that although you were born in Saskatchewan, you actually spent the majority of your formative years moving from place to place in Canada and then to Australia for thirteen years. How do you feel about your nomadic childhood and in what way do you think it influenced you becoming an artist and how do you feel it shaped the work that you do today?  

One advantage is my childhood introduced me to different cultures and points of view. I also learned how to detach from things as moving always seemed to entail a loss of precious possessions. Along the way I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge with the help of some excellent teachers. I was always interested in making marks and exploring the possibilities on paper. Art was my safe place.

What mediums do you work with? What draws you to use these mediums? Please explain your creative process and how you developed and evolved into the unique style that you have today. 

Watercolour was part of my early development through elementary school and into junior high. My formal training was in oils, after I learned how to draw. My ambitions to be artist came to an abrupt end when Dad insisted I attend university to become a lawyer and stop wasting my time. I was twenty-one at the time and did not touch paint until my husband encouraged me to take it up again. I departed from oils and went into watercolour for many years. Asked to paint a mural, I discovered acrylics. I took a few classes and explored the possibilities in this medium more intently. Accidents attract me. Watercolour is full of accidents. I decided to encourage accidents with acrylics by creating a rough surface and throwing paint at it before I returned it to a semblance of order.

Can you explain what your current show “The Veil” is about and how that message is being communicated through your paintings? 

In the beginning there was chaos. My process and this particular show is really biblically based. The veil is a tangible reality of the imaginary separation most of us feel with God, with our neighbours and with the rest of creation in general. We must lift the veil to enjoy the beauty beneath. The series of paintings beneath The Veil is called “One”. The fractured image is a symbol of our world crying out to be loved and cared for. Everything is seeking union; indeed, nothing is separated. Science is just beginning to understand how the universe interconnects. The Holon theory is fascinating in the repercussions every vibration perpetrates. It is time we paid more attention. “One” is filled with symbolism. Some get it. Some don’t. It’s OK.

You are a very busy artist, with many solo and group shows. How do you manage it all and what kind of schedule for studio practice do you have in place? 

I do my best to maintain a four-hour morning schedule in my studio where I engage in about three to five or more projects at once. Deadlines dictate which project receives priority. I am woefully behind on archives, ecommerce and marketing in general. The afternoon is divided between paperwork and many personal responsibilities. Evenings are generally for relaxation.

Who are your biggest influences, artists or non-artists that have directly (or indirectly) affected your artistic expression?  

Every artist I have ever worked with has had a direct influence on my artistic expression. The foundation I received at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney, Australia, certainly gave me means to transfer into any medium I wished to try. The SAPG helped me out of my shell in many ways. Jean Petersen, Doris Charest, Sara Genn, as well as others, all had a hand in forming what I do. And I would not be where I am today without the unfailing support of my wonderful husband and family.

How long have you been involved with VASA? What do you feel are the positive aspects of being directly involved with an art community like VASA? 

I was part of the December show in 2009. In our world where art is very much under appreciated, it falls to the cooperatives to support this essential element in our society. Art often shows the way in a period of chaos and disruption. We are living in a transition period where what we once thought was solid is crumbling. This is part of what my work is saying. There is another, more important part shouting the message that all is well in spite of what it looks like. Without VASA, and other communities like it, my work would be hidden in my storage unit.

Thanks so much Karen! Please join us for the opening reception of The Veil tomorrow evening 6-9pm!

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