March Hutchinson’s exhibit Breathing Room is on display at Gallery Vertigo June 6 to July 2, with an opening reception and chance to meet Hutchinson June 8 at 7 p.m. (Photo submitted)

March Hutchinson’s exhibit Breathing Room is on display at Gallery Vertigo June 6 to July 2, with an opening reception and chance to meet Hutchinson June 8 at 7 p.m. (Photo submitted)

Local artist back in action at Gallery Vertigo

With every stroke of the brush, the painter transforms a blank canvas into an open window

With every stroke of the brush, the painter leaves behind not only lines but a piece of themselves, turning a blank canvas into an open window into the artist’s mind.

March Hutchinson is opening doors with her exhibition Breathing Room at Gallery Vertigo, running June 6 to July 2, with an opening reception June 8.

“It feels good,” Hutchinson says of displaying her work. “But I always feel a bit underprepared and exposed.”

But it’s through exposing the artist’s thought processes that the audience connects with a specific piece.

“It’s nice always to see what people take from it,” she says. “It’s always healthy to get a bit vulnerable. I’m interested in peoples’ responses.”

Utilizing primarily oil paints, Hutchinson creates abstract depictions of her surroundings, using archetypal symbols of nature — such as a setting sun — to convey her message.

“I just love the way the textures and colours combine,” Hutchinson says of oil paints. “I was interested in all different mediums. One day, I tried oil painting and was like,’ Oh. This is what painting is all about.’”

Breathing Room also features some of Hutchinson’s work with watercolours and gouache — a heavier yet more opaque cousin of watercolour.

“The paintings have created their own language.”

It’s a special exhibit for Hutchinson, representing her return to the art world after a half-decade hiatus.

“I was living in Montreal, and living a more typical artists’ life,” Hutchinson recalls.

But she was involved in a car accident and everything changed. She left her artist life in Montreal behind and moved back to the Okanagan to start a family.

“Basically, I’m kind of coming back to painting after a five-year break. It’s what I’ve come up with so far.”

Hutchinson rented a studio space from Gallery Vertigo, where she was approached to put her work on display.

“It feels pretty good,” Hutchinson says on returning to arts. “I’m definitely gingerly approaching it. The deeper I go, the more I like it.”

Despite her brief departure from the world of fine arts, it’s a passion that stretches back as far as Hutchinson can remember.

“I grew up in a very art-filled family,” she says, adding that she spent her formative years at Armstrong’s Caravan Farm Theatre where both of her parents once worked.

“I’ve always been immersed in (art),” Hutchinson says. “It’s always felt like an innate part of life.”

As she grew, so did her interest in the field, which eventually led to her pursuing a double-major in art history.

Overall, Hutchinson is excited to be back at work in the arts realm, and is optimistic of Breathing Room’s success.

“Hopefully, the paintings can speak for themselves.”

Breathing Room is on display at Gallery Vertigo, suite 102, 3105-28th Ave., June 6 to July 2, with an opening reception and chance to meet Hutchinson June 8 at 7 p.m. Also on display at the gallery is the work of Gary Dewhurst, a recent UBCO fine arts graduate, in a series entitled Habitable Zones. Gallery Vertigo is open Tuesday to Saturday, from noon to 4 p.m.