A young Yorkton artist finds her inspiration in nature but her works reflect a diverse world of her own creation.
The works by Jennifer Protsko are intricate layerings of paint in all the hues of the spectrum.
In the intricacy Protsko sees a world of columns to the sky, of enclaves of nature hanging on in a changing world. Each paintbrush stroke saying something about the story.
In fact Protsko pauses in the middle of the interview, and studies a spot on one painting. It is a smudge of red paint which to most would just look like any other splash of colour in the painting.
"It doesn't belong," she announced, determining it must have rubbed off another work during a move. "I'll have to fix that," she declared.
It is with such a discerning eye Protsko sees the world she has created.
Protsko understands others may not see exactly what she does in her work, but adding she just hopes they take the time to see something there.
"It's a reflection of your conversation with them (the artist and viewer)," she said. "… I think most people take the time to look at the flow and understand the differences in technique."
To-date most of her art has only been seen by family and friends in the city, but she said she is hoping for a show at the Godfrey Dean Gallery to take her works to a wider local audience.
Protsko said like most artists she wants to share the stories within her art, adding "I'm probing some areas that have been probed before …
"I really think I have something to say about the world that other people don't."
Protsko said when she goes to paint she can see the scene in her head.
"While I paint there's a constant dialogue going on in my head," she said, adding she can get lost in her work spending two, three hours a day at a canvas when in the midst of a piece.
It is her job to take that vision to the canvas.
"You have to be one with the paint brush," she said. "You have to be the power behind it."
Protsko, 28, said her interest in art really has its roots in a love of nature.
"Always, even when I was younger, I was strongly interested in nature," she said, "I grew up on a farm and we'd go for nature walks all the time."
It is the farm which inspires her to champion nature in much of her work. She said she visits the farm now and realizes "how much things have changed in such a short period of time."
Protsko said her interest in art was also fostered in school.
"I always had a very good art program through school in Yorkton," she said, adding that was a good thing since she had fallen in love with art by her school years. "… I had an unquenchable thirst, even throughout school."
So it was not a surprise Protsko would pursue arts education in university with an eye to being and arts and drama teacher. She said she'd love to teach younger children "to mold 13 and 14-year-old minds, when they still have lots of imagination left."
Protsko said holding on to imagination is important in art, noting a famous painter once commented he had "painted his whole lifetime to learn how to paint like a child."
But teaching remains in Protsko's future.
However, art is very much part of her life.
Protsko said as an artist she finds herself on something of a journey of discovery.
On one hand that means investigating the medium to see just what she can do with paint.
Different paints and approaches to applying it "can significantly alter the entire process and the finished piece," she explained.
In her latest works, a series of works, explore an imagined world inspired by nature, things such as the translucence of butterfly eggs, and the metamorphosis of the butterfly itself.
Other pieces explore a 'New Venice' if the ice caps melt.
Protsko says her work is often reflective of nature and how it is threatened these days.
"I'm genuinely interested in what's going on in the world," she said.
Protsko said in a world of the Internet and hundreds of television channels, people are losing their connection to nature.
"It's missing in most people's lives," she said. "… Every person needs to find their connection with nature -- otherwise we're in trouble.
"… There's so much more to be said. It's such an important story."
While Protsko can grab a theme and run with it, churning out paintings to tell a story over several canvases, she admitted she likes to tell new stories too.
"My love of painting has almost expired until I find a new subject matter to explore," she said, adding once a new story comes to her she knows the fever to paint will strike again.