I am a painter. I usually paint with oils. My usual style tends towards realism. I focus on landscapes, especially from the Northwest Territories. I love to add depth by focusing on light and shadow. When you look at my paintings, you can see the textures. I particularly love realistic colours and bold brushstrokes. I will do mixed media if I want to add specific textures in some of my paintings.
I am mostly a self-taught artist. I've always known how to draw. In 2018, I made a mural to welcome the athletes from the Arctic Winter Games. I painted winter game figures under the northern lights. The public's positive response is what made me look into oil painting. I read all the information I could find, watched videos online and gathered all the materials I needed to start practicing. In 2021, I attended an oil painting mastery class which made me grow a lot as an artist.
My creative process varies with my subjects. I prefer to use my own photographs as the source for my paintings. When I look at the photograph I've chosen to work with, I focus on what I want the viewer to feel when they're looking at my art. I sketch out my ideas with charcoal. I will then build it up with acrylics and complete the process with multiple layers of oils paints. If I want a softer tone to my painting, I will use techniques from the Baroque art period, which is one of my preferred style. The Fall colours and pet portraits are two of my favourite things to paint.
I am inspired by nature. I like to capture the feeling of a place. It's important to me to be connected to the scenes or animals that I paint. Making art connects me to people too. When someone feels the need to own one of my pieces, there is a connection that is created; to that painting, to that place, to the expression on an animal's face. Those connections really motivate me. I also do pet portraits, which are often given as gifts to people who lost their precious friends. You can see their emotions when they receive the painting. It's really special to be able to give them some of my art to remember their pets by.
What I like the most about painting is that it feels therapeutic and relaxing. It accesses the creative part that we all have within us. It seems like I have always been seeking to create, but never found an art form that really stuck with me. As soon as I found painting, I knew that was for me. I have to sit down and paint, at least a little bit every day!
Arwen lives in Hay River. She dabbled in other art forms such as drawing and wood working, before finding her passion for oil painting. Arwen loves to paint realistic landscapes and animal portraits. She started selling her creations in January 2021, when her coworker noticed one of Arwen's paintings in the background during a video call. Arwen has registered for a business license with the town of Hay River to sell small pieces at the town's tourist booth. She continues to sell her paintings online and accepts commissioned work.