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Mountains inspiration, but kids driving force for artist

Sheree Blanch's third MY Place exhibit runs through August



Who: Sheree Blanch, Mountain of Dreams

Where: MY Millennium Place

When: To Aug. 31

As a 19-year-old art student at the City Art Institute in Sydney, Australia, Sheree Blanch says art was confusing for her because she didn’t know what she wanted to paint.

"But when I came to B.C. it just became painfully obvious that this is what I had to paint and now I just can’t stop."

Blanch’s prolific talent at capturing Whistler’s mountainous terrain is being exhibited for the third time in as many years at Maurice Young Millennium Place for the month of August. The artist, who works in acrylics, had two previous shows, in 2004 and 2005. Her vibrant scenes are extremely popular says the centre’s general manager.

"What is special about her art is that she focuses on what is Whistler," Dennis Marriott said. "She captures everything from moss in the trees to colours of hills."

A digital designer and Whistler art teacher after arriving here in 1991, Blanch has been at home for the past eight years raising two children. These years have been her most prolific, she says, a way of maintaining a sense of self while also being inspired by her children, now aged eight and five.

"Children are the ultimate creative inspiration, but to hold on to a little bit of who I was – painting was the way I held on to that," she said.

"Mountain of Dreams," an exhibit in the Millennium Place gallery, runs until Aug. 31 and is recognition of the powerful beauty found in adversity, Blanch says.

"Mountains are literally and symbolically linked with the duality of a massive obstacle which stands in our way and the endurance it takes to overcome them. To survive the mountain of challenges before us in our lives we must try to believe it’s not as hard as it seems," she said.

Blanch has worked as a designer with her husband, Sean Bondaroff, as part of the Toad Hall Studio collaborative. She also works for Black Tusk Gallery and Lotus Art Supplies.

MY Place is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

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