Lacombe’s premiere location for original artworks is displaying a large collection of acrylics from a well-known regional artist as it continues its fall and winter season.
Vivian Bennett, an acrylic painter based out of the Buffalo Lake area, is the new featured artist at Lacombe’s Gallery on Main.
Bennett’s work offers a bit of a twist on most acrylic paintings. She said that instead of mixing her paint colours on a palette, she mixes her paint right on the canvas itself while painting, something she said sets her apart from many artists.
As such, Bennett has become known for large works with thick layers of paint on the canvas.
She added that she prefers to work on large pieces and doesn’t take much time to complete her paintings, making quick shapes and strokes on the canvas.
All of Bennett’s paintings tell a story and most are to do with prairie life. Bennett grew up in Edmonton at a time where it was much smaller in a small neighbourhood where most families had come from a farming background but she has lived in the prairies for the last 25 years.
Titles are also important to Bennett. The longer, specific titles of her pieces usually sum up the story told in the painting.
Bennett likes to use models in her paintings, many of which depict people. She said that she sometimes paints from photos, but often paints ‘live’ as well.
While Bennett’s pieces may take a lot of preparation, she said they don’t take a lot of planning. Bennett said she doesn’t think about the piece much before she begins painting, instead reacting to her feelings while she works.
“I don’t plan a lot beforehand,” said Bennett. “I respond to the colour, to the feel. I don’t really plan colour palettes – I just respond to the emotion that I’m feeling when I’m painting.”
Always a creative person, Bennett realized she had a vivid imagination at a young age. She added that it also didn’t take long for her to discover that she had strong hand-eye coordination.
Bennett first started painting at the age of 18. She studied commercial art for two years in high school and then went to university to study education. However, Bennett added that she took art classes as options wherever possible while in university.
After university, Bennett took a 30-year hiatus where she, “Didn’t even pick up a pencil.” She started painting again professionally about 15 years ago and has been doing it fairly consistently ever since.
Bennett said she came back to painting because had the free time and wanted to see how far she could have gone with it.
“I was very curious about that, I still am really.”
Now, Bennett is looking towards retirement. She said she is getting older now and it is getting more difficult for her to work on her paintings.
“I’m pretty much winding down now,” said Bennett. She added instead of painting, she is trying her hand at writing poetry.
Still, Bennett said she has enjoyed her time as a painter and is happy with what she has accomplished. She said she has completed over 500 pieces in the 15 years she has been doing it.
“I’ve had lots and lots of fun with my painting.”
Bennett’s work will be featured at the Gallery on Main from now until Dec. 5th.