With an affection for travel, a local artist has been injecting colour and passion into her works, showcasing her adventures and inspiring new ones.
Danielle Folkerts, born and currently residing in Lacombe, uses a blend of painting, drawing, photography and collage to create kaleidoscopic creations here in Central Alberta. She flows positivity through her artwork, encouraging you to travel, explore what’s in your backyard or see what else is out there.
Also known as the Travelling Artisan, her works are often inspired, but not solely, by many of her travels.
Her artistic journey began a few years ago, after graduating high school and attending the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in Calgary.
“I was just always drawing,” she said of her upbringing. “I think that’s what I always knew I wanted to do – art and teach art.”
After the first week of attending ACAD, Folkerts was “sold” on the fine arts program and decided to branch out and major in painting. Following graduation, she used a scholarship to fund a trip to Italy to paint.
“That kind of started my fascination and love of combining travel and art,” she said. “They are pretty much two of my favourite things.”
Among her many adventures, Folkerts travelled around the U.K. and in the following year, traveled south to Costa Rica and Panama to practice yoga and explore.
“I literally just backpacked around and took photos,” she said. “I think that trip specifically inspired me. My palette has changed a lot. At school I was painting with a lot of browns. Everything was really muted. Everything was a portrait. Two years later, now my work has completely changed. The colours are a bit more happy and represent a little bit more the places I’ve been, like the colour of the ocean or the sky.
“Definitely, the more I want to paint, the more I want to have colour.”
Among her many works covering subjects like landscapes or nature, Folkerts has come to be known for her paintings and works portraying maps.
“I started painting them because I’ve always done portraiture or representational work,” she explained. “I was travelling a lot. I was kind of looking at abstraction. I kind of realized I like maps. You know what it is when you see it but they are still very abstract.
“For me it was going to be a gateway to abstraction but it kind of became something a lot bigger because people were really drawn to maps.”
Folkerts continues to paint maps because of the response the works receive at markets and art shows.
“It’s neat because conceptually, it just starts conversations,” she explained. “People want to talk about it. People love it. Whether it’s a love of travel or an experience somewhere, I’m just going to keep going with it because it’s exciting and I like it.”
Folkerts also paints many local landscapes – from recognizable mountain peaks like the Three Sisters in Canmore to rolling prairie scenes, all with the same aim of using maps as a subject matter – to be inspired by the desire to travel and explore what is right in her own backyard.
“I started doing more day trips here and there,” she said of her local travels. “You can go to Jasper. You can go to Canmore. You can go to Banff. I started compiling pictures, taking photographs of things that were really beautiful around here and stuff that people recognize around here. That’s why I started focusing on the landscapes too. People are drawn to things that are here in their own backyard.”
Over the past year, Folkerts has attended several markets in Central Alberta and will be teaching art and painting classes over the coming winter months.
For more information, visit www.thetravellingartisan.org or www.facebook.com/dkfolkertsstudio.