Avril-in-Studio-smallSpend some time with artist Avril Bull and you will find yourself infused with her irrepressible energy and passion for the outdoors. The collection of Avril’s new works at The Colborne Art Gallery entitled Everything Moves, gives us a view into that energy and passion.

Avril begins most days with a walk, ride or ski through the fields around her Baltimore home, storing mental images of light, colour and design that work their way into her drawings, prints and paintings. Often collecting photos of the scenes she is most drawn to, Avril will use the photos as reference for her compositions; however it is the memory of movement in the landscape that seems to infuse her work most strongly.

The flutter of leaves catching the light, the rhythm in the sloping hills, the skyward thrust of a mountainside, the swirl of water or snow, these are the aspects of the natural world that bring the emotion to Avril’s work, taking it from strict representation to a personal response.

The show title, Everything Moves, also describes Avril’s way of interacting with her world, from morning walks, energetic gardening, hiking and kayak trips through creative leaps of imagination and an uncontainable tendency to burst into dance while working in her studio.

It’s not surprising then to find that Avril works in a variety of mediums, moving from one to the other to capture the essence of her current subject. Watercolour painting works best for Avril when she wants the movement and light of early morning sun on snow to come through in her lively brushstrokes.

In carving the linoblock for a relief print, Avril finds that she is physically involved in the process in a way that relates back to the essential physical place that initially inspired the piece. The resulting prints have a boldness that captures that physicality.

In order to portray a more dreamlike impression of the natural world, Avril has developed a monotype process that requires many repeated layers to build up finely detailed texture and colour. Avril describes this process as a bit mesmerizing and meditative, allowing the image to unfold in a less deliberate way which keeps the magic of a fleeting moment. A simple image of a few leaves floating through the air retains the momentary sparkle of light and shadow but also has a timeless quality which keeps you pulled in to the image.

The combined effect of these varying approaches to the subject of the natural world helps convey the changing moods of the weather, time of day and mood of both the landscape and the artist who so passionately shows us her viewpoint.

Be sure to visit The Colborne Art Gallery and enjoy Everything Moves from April 19, 2014 to May 25, 2014.  The opening reception on Saturday April 19th from 2- 4pm will give you an opportunity to speak to Avril and the other member artists and enjoy refreshments. All are always welcome to attend and admission is always free!

Barbara Buntin

Avril at Garibaldi Park, BC