A&E » Arts

Stushnoff’s snowboard shows off Joy of Winter



What: Joy of Winter Show featuring Sandra Stushnoff

Where: adele-campbell Art Gallery

When: Saturday, Nov. 24

Can goddesses and snowboards really connect?

Abstract artist Sandra Stushnoff still draws on inspiration from living in an Indonesian meditation temple 10 years ago to create goddess imagery and more contemporary pieces, like this year’s handpainted snowboard for the adele-campbell art gallery winter show.

Gallery owners commissioned Stushnoff to paint a snowboard for the silent auction at the seventh annual Joy of Winter Show, which highlights various artwork. Media include brush and airbrush work with gouache in the neon brights of Robert Jones’ landscapes, the stealth soapstone bear carvings of Corky Hewson, and Cameron Bird’s farm scenes.

Stushnoff’s own paintings of boarders and skiers are all about motion. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz reaching for the gems, you want to reach out and touch the powder rising above the boarder’s toque, teasing spray in hues of white and blue. Realism to abstract gets played out with brush as she paints, usually to music. Lately a series of jazz CDs lent by a friend have inspired her.

"I don’t like to bring out too much detail on the face features, and I paint from photos, so the snowboard for the Winter Show originally began as an image of Ross (Rebagliati) which we first discussed, but morphed about 10 times through the process," says Stushnoff.

She recently moved her studio from Whistler to North Vancouver, where a panorama view off the balcony still lends itself to an ideal atmosphere high in the hills.

Her first snowboard themed client request came from Burton, who commissioned 10 watercolours for their head office. That led to a series of abstract action paintings, ranging from five by seven inch boards, to two foot by three foot canvases, to snowboards. After this experience, snowboards will feature in her work again, for display only purposes.

The board’s surface is prepped using drywall sealant rather than gesso, which created a smooth, lacquer-like surface on which to apply acrylics. And while traditionalists love the prepping process, Stushnoff likes to delve right into the subject.

"The preparation (beforehand) involved with putting gesso on canvas doesn’t really interest as much as the process of the painting, so I usually buy preprepared canvas," she says.

While adele-campbell continues to be the main showcase for her work in the international buyers’ market of Whistler, a Vancouver residence opens up doors, and a plethora of supply shops. There Stushnoff finds one problem: turning into "a kid in a candy store" with city temptations.