By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Alberta has announced a new Artist in residence and ambassador for the arts. Visual artist, Aeris Osborne will fill the prestigious role until Fall 2022. Although she grew up in the autonomous city-state of Hong Kong, Osborne said her painting journey really began after immigrating to Canada in 2007. The self-taught painter and artist did receive grade school-level instruction in her earlier education, but said it was her move to Canada that allowed her to flourish creatively.
Osborne now resides in Edmonton, and said one of the things she is grateful for is the creative opportunities living in Canada has afforded her.
“If you have a dream, and are a newcomer you can try to (pursue) creativity,” said Osborne.
Osborne works in ink, watercolour, and acrylic, but said time and place are factors when she considers which medium she will utilize to capture her subject matter.
“With acrylic, I am not as fast. I really need time to apply (the paint) layer by layer,” adding the process for painting with acrylics requires very intentional practice. While she is intentional with all she creates, she expressed how using ink and watercolour allow her to complete projects more quickly and without a complicated setup process. Osborne spoke about a moment in her travels where ink was a more accessible medium. Noting how ink sketching has served her in her travels by affording her the benefit of portability as she travelled between cities, exploring spaces outside of her studio in different parts of the world. For instance, on a train in Italy near Rome, she was able to capture her surroundings in real-time, “I love that moment,” she explained.
Although many of Aeris Osborne’s pieces depict historical homes in Edmonton and older architecture in the province, she said she also enjoys capturing the relationship between animals, and painting florals. For Osborne, one universal component of her creative process is to paint or draw when she is in good spirit.
“I always have to paint (during) very relaxing and joyful moments.”
Her work reflects the joy she finds in her chosen subject matter, and much of her paintings feel both fresh and nostalgic at the same time. Her use of bright colours and soft pastels, are reminiscent of the impressionist painters of the 1860s.
Osborne explained she sometimes likes to revisit the sites of her subject matter in Alberta because the seasonal changes provide different perspectives of the same place. “The seasons can change a house so much. It is much different depending on the season,” she said.
Osborne works in multiple mediums including black ink. However, her watercolour, and particularly her acrylic paintings, are saturated with bright, and sometimes unconventional colours, and frequently feature pink skies and bright bouquets of colour.
She said, “I think early on, (my use of) colour was more subtle, but once I got more confident in painting, I began to experiment more with colour,” and added, “that’s actually one of the latest changes,” as she has become more established in her artistic career.
One recent series, titled YEG Old Houses, captures and celebrates the residential architectural styles in several of the City of Edmonton’s mature neighbourhoods, built between the early 1900s and 1930s.
As Alberta’s Artist in Residence, Osborne will be working on a new collection of work featuring paintings of old buildings from all around Alberta. To view her art and explore her Old Houses series, visit aerisosborne.com.