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Local artist showcases work at Railway Museum

Melanie Desjardines gets playful displaying a variety of artwork that spans multi media use during her exhibit at the Central Interior Railway Museum until July 30.

Diverse Explorations in the latest art exhibit to grace the walls of the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum.

Melanie Desjardines, a well-known local artist, has brought together a variety of artwork to showcase at the museum until July 30.

As her career as an artist expanded, Desjardines quickly moved from painting with water colours and acrylics, always ready to discover juxtapositions in her work, to using contrasting media types like paint on metal and using the technique of collage or making art using discarded pieces found on the shop floor of her husband’s sheet metal business.

“Most people recognize my work when they see birch trees on metal,” Desjardines said. “I think this exhibit is good for me to be able to share some of my other work because I think people only equate me with the birch trees on metal,” Desjardines said.

There are a few examples of her early water colour work on display.

“One piece is a play thing I made with tea bags and water colours where the bag was mark making,” Desjardines explained. “I did a bunch like that where I would just start with something and then turned it into something fun.”

There is a series of collage pieces on display as part of the exhibit that comes with some family history.

“My grandma always had this picture on her wall,” Desjardines said. It was of a garden close to one of her daughter’s homes.

As time went by, the picture deteriorated so Desjardines started peeling parts of it away.

“It ended up in the shape of a boot and the painting became something else,” Desjardines said.

She explores often through her art and found a way to make a tea bag dripping and a ripped up water colour painting she pieced out and collaged onto another canvas come together with words gently hidden throughout the piece.

Desjardines creates art wherever she goes so one of her pieces on the walls of the museum is from her family trip to Drumheller to visit the dinosaur museum. It’s fossil-themed.

“Whatever my inspiration tells me that’s what I do, even if it’s something I pick up off the ground,” Desjardines said.

As part of her career, Desjardines took on the challenge of having Groop Gallery in the heart of downtown Prince George from 2010 to 2016 where she showcased regional artists' work as well as her own. Desjardines hosted many community events like the Art Battle where artists would come together during a 20-minute competition while audiences watched the action.

Desjardines is very happy to share all her work with those attending the exhibit.

“COVID-19 has isolated us all and I’m happy to put my work on display as a way to connect with the community,” Desjardines said.

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