Meadowlark Festival focus at Penticton art gallery opening

Penticton artist Terry Isaac opens exhibit at art gallery for Meadowlark Nature Festival.

A lifelong appreciation of wildlife and the natural environment will be on display at the Penticton Art Gallery starting Friday at the exhibition opening for Meadowlark Nature Festival feature artist Terry Isaac.

Isaac, who moved to Penticton six years ago, said early on in his education he became aware of the symbiotic relationship between the landscape and the creatures which inhabit it. This impression formed the foundation on which his illustrious career has since been built. Since the mid-1980s, he has devoted himself to the documentation and celebration of the natural world with a particular focus on dramatic light. He is equally inspired by large expansive panoramas as well by close-up intimate views celebrating a diverse range of subjects from whales to hummingbirds.

“Usually my paintings are derived from a setting I see and then I think about what kind of bird or animal fits into that particular setting. Sometimes the settings are a composite, so it is not always from one place,” said Isaac. “It is the setting that gets my creative juices flowing. Sometimes it can be a bird or animal and I really like the behaviour of it and I think what kind of setting can I put them in.”

Isaac’s painting On The Fence features a Western Meadowlark on a fence post that can be found on the west side of Penticton. This was donated to the festival and will be raffled off as a fundraising effort to go towards the 2014 Meadowlark Festival. Also showing at Friday’s exhibition opening will be several of Isaac’s original paintings, including a triptych piece titled Field Of Dreams. In it, three horses are in a field of mist. He based it on the Fibonacci sequence that basically lays out a proportion that is found in biological settings, and connected to as the Golden Mean. Isaac said it is pleasing to the eye.

“It is the first time I have ever done that. I was really attracted to the setting which is from Creston, B.C., and I really enjoyed the quiet mood of it. It is based on several photographs and I played with moving the horses around to its best design but I liked the ethereal feeling of the mist wafting from one panel to the other and the quiet mood of the horses resting in the field.”

Isaac also is a teacher. He is hosting a workshop at Linden Gardens May 22 to 26 in Kaleden, and often tells his students to get out and experience nature before they put something on canvas. While he has travelled to national parks all over North America, in tropical rain forests, and photographed polar bears in the wild, sometimes it’s simply the flowers in his garden that inspire him.

“I need to get out into nature to get my ideas and I really enjoy that aspect in my work,” said Isaac, who is hosting a artist walk and talk on May 29 at 2 p.m. “It is really where you get the inspiration. I have people that thumb through magazines, postcards and books and say ‘I want to paint this.’ I can see why because it is a beautiful photo, but I always encourage them to get out and experience it themselves because that is where they are going to feel it in their heart.”

That’s why his work ties in so well with the Meadowlark Nature Festival (until May 20) which has over 90 environmental tours and events. For more information on Isaac visit or go to the exhibition opening on Friday at the Penticton Art Gallery from 7 to 9 p.m. Also opening in the main gallery is Michelle Forsyth and Christopher Watts. They will be hosting a walk and talk on Saturday at 1 p.m.