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Bringing nature to life

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Nature comes to life at the Station Arts Centre during the month of November.

The Changing Exhibit Gallery features Tillsonburg artist Jared Smith from Nov. 2 to Dec. 5.

“There’s a lot of nature, wood, a sense of reverence or serenity here in a lot of ways,” said Smith. “There are a lot of real leaves that I use in my artwork – I use this flower press my grandmother gave me.”

In keeping with his nature theme, Smith incorporates as much natural materials as he can, and unlike many artists today, he does not use any canvass for his work.

“I recycle a lot of wood – I use barnboard, hardwood flooring, basically any kind of wood people send my way I use.”

Smith will use wood as a base, and with some of his artwork he will add sand and other materials as well as layers of stain and paint to finish the piece.

Dr. Seuss and The Group of Seven have been influences for Smith, who describes his talent in a unique way.

“To me an artist is just the way you look at the world – just look at it with curiosity and wonder your entire life. To me, that’s what an artist is.”

This is Smith’s first solo appearance in the changing exhibit at the Station Arts Centre, but he has also been a part of the annual Studio Tour in Tillsonburg for the past several years.

While there is no theme for the exhibit, nature and wood are an important part of Smith’s artwork, as well as some of the handwritten letters written to him as a child by his grandmother.

“I just took pieces of her letters – my grandmother used to write me these fantastic letters, they were so descriptive. She was a school teacher, so her letters when she wrote me, built images in my head that I saw.

“Something different motivates each one of us and perhaps for me, what motivates me is pretty little pieces of colour, like the light shining through the trees. Those are things to me that really propel me forward and that definitely comes through in my artwork.”

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