Among the works at this year's local artist show at the Godfrey Dean Gallery are a series turning a few heads, with the works relegated to a back room because of their content.
In terms of content artist Jennifer DeGroot is drawn to the human form, although almost exclusively a woman's form.
"I don't usually do men," she said.
In the case of the animal-headed women, they started from a dream.
"I had a dream about a snapping turtle woman," said DeGroot, adding her boyfriend had been playing a video game with various monsters, "so I probably had that in my head when I went to sleep."
From there the series grew, which was a surprise for DeGroot.
"I don't usually work with animals," she said, adding in some respects they are easier since people notice small imperfections in an animal than a human face simply because we are all more familiar with the human form.
As it did the scant clothing of snapping turtle woman were left behind and the women's body were drawn naked.
"Honestly I don't like drawing clothes. Usually I do nudes," said DeGroot.
While nude, DeGroot said that is not done as a way to shock or titillate.
"They're not supposed to be sexual," she offered, adding "not that there's anything wrong with that in art."
The pieces do convey feeling though.
"I was just trying to get over different emotions," she said, adding that realization came after. Initially she said she drew the pieces "for my own selfish pleasure of working on art."
DeGroot said consciously trying to create works with specific meanings are constrictive.
"Putting messages into my work I end up thinking about it too much to have the fun (of doing it)," she said. "I like to sit down and just think about what I would like to see, what would look cool."
And, some pieces though do end up telling a story.
One of the women has a third eye on its chest.
"I see the world with my heart more than my head," said DeGroot.
And there may be a subconscious message in DeGroot's favourite piece, a deer-headed woman nursing a deer-headed baby. She said as a mother she appreciates the stigmatism some women face for breast feeding in public, and also the reverse where some that do breast feed look down on those choosing to feed formula.
"I like the deer. I just had so much fun working on it. It was more the experience working on it than the finished product," she said.
As for art in general DeGroot said it is in her blood.
"There are a lot of artists in my family. Everybody is into something, music, visual arts, my little sister is big into film editing," she said.
And at a young age DeGroot found comic books.
"They were a big thing when I was young, and still are," she said, noting comics such as Allan Moore's Watchmen, and characters such as Venom and Carnage, and Spawn by Canadian creator Todd McFarlane were inspirations. "… I love comic book art."
DeGroot also loved art in school, although she admitted she may not have been her instructor's favourite student.
"I frustrated my art teacher a lot," she said, explaining she took forever to complete projects. "If I'm going to do something it has to be done properly."
However, being a perfectionist often meant late assignments.
That said DeGroot was happy her high school art teacher Diane Koch attended the recent opening at the Godfrey Dean Gallery.
"I love her, but I think she was usually frustrated with me," she said, adding her admiration for Koch came as a result of her approach to instructing. "She was really good at letting me really stretch the boundaries of what I wanted to put in my art."
At times pushing boundaries does draw attention to DeGroot's art related to its content.
In fact the pieces in the Yorkton show at the Godfrey Dean Gallery raised a few eyebrows.
"I was surprised by the controversy over the pieces I have up here," she said.
The pieces, each depicting a woman, many of them naked, and all having animal heads, are certainly different than what most artists take on, although DeGroot said she never thought of them as that daring. "I just don't see them the same."
However, DeGroot does admit science fiction and fantasy art does catch her own eye, and those influences can be seen in the animal-headed women. She said Brian Froud ,well-known for his take on fairies "is a huge "influence on me.
"I think I draw a lot from his work in sketching especially."
For DeGroot art is escapism.
"You know how some people sit and knit and watch TV?" she asked. "I sit down and draw."
In those times DeGroot said she just falls into her work letting whatever comes into her mind transfer to the sketch pad.
"That's my problem doing commissioned work, I like to do things my own way," she said.
As for people's reactions to the works, DeGroot said while it does have people talking, for the most part it has been well-received.
Initially she posted a couple of works to her Facebook page.
"The reaction has been really, really good," she said, adding "My mom loves them," which was not expected.
DeGroot said she is not really worried how people view the works.
"I'm not big into telling people how to see my art," she said.
But DeGroot did suggest it was time to share her efforts.
"I'm a stay at home mom now and I have a lot of time to sit and think about what I want out of my life," she said, adding in "a moment of clarity" she realized it was time "people should see what I've been working on my whole life."
DeGroot said she would like to begin selling her work, letting her at present hobby grow into something more, but added that will take time.
"I'd like to build up my portfolio of work a little bit more," she said, adding she also needs to become more attuned with what works will sell. That said DeGroot isn't about to do landscapes just to sell her art. "I don't want to compromise what I do either."
As for the series, there are more to come.
"I'm thinking about doing a moth next," she said, adding that could lead to doing a series of insect-women as a sort of self-therapy.
"They (insects) scare me. I'd like to overcome that."