“I came to Canada in 2009. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t stop thinking about the beauty of nature; it brings me peace and happiness,” says Iranian-Canadian realist painter Afsaneh Roudgar on her source of artistic inspiration.
Roudgar was selected by a committee of community members at the Leigh Square Community Arts Village in Port Coquitlam to be one of this year’s Artists in Residence between August and October. During her residency, Roudgar hopes to share her love of art and nature with local and larger communities.
Canada’s Natural Beauty
Roudgar grew up during a period of political unrest in Iran. Amid the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War, she found peace away from humanity’s struggles and violence in nature. She has always had a special connection to animals, and her family cats, in particular, brought her a sense of tranquility after these experiences.
“I like to paint animals because they’re much more peaceful than humans,” she explains.
Roudgar believes nature is the source of everything and is a symbol of harmony on earth.
“When I see human-caused violence around the world, in every country, I think the best thing I can do is share peace,” says Roudgar.
Canada’s landscape prompted the artist to, at age forty-nine, leave her long-established career in banking to pursue her passion for painting.
“I couldn’t stop admiring Canada’s beauty. I can imagine so many pictures in the clouds and the trees, so I started to paint them. I realized I had to change careers and do what I love; I didn’t want to work in finance anymore,” says Roudgar.
Currently a full-time artist, she aspires to teach art to children. As a certified Early Childhood Educator, she will have the opportunity to combine her love of painting and children in her workshops during her residency.
“It’s important to teach children and to encourage them to follow their talents,” she says.
Born into a family of artists, Roudgar believes artistic talent runs through her blood.
As a young girl, she and her siblings observed their father, a hyperrealist, create watercolour paintings. Now, despite being skilled in a range of styles and methods including chalk and acrylic, watercolour is her favourite medium.
“I learned watercolour from watching my father paint and from a master painter in Iran,” Roudgar says. “Learning from a master was difficult for me because I like to take my time and focus on detail, but he told me not to.”
It was not until she came to Canada that she began experimenting with watercolour for painting detail. After lots of practice, Roudgar can finally say she is comfortable painting in watercolour.
“Watercolour is for things I love to paint. For thoughtful subjects and bigger paintings, I use acrylic,” she explains. “When I want to relax or have peace, I paint a watercolour.”
Whenever Roudgar is having a hard day, a glance at her watercolour portrait of her cat always brightens her mood.
“I hope to make others smile when they see my watercolours. I like to create happiness for myself and then share it with others,” she says.
Whether it is displaying her art with the public or encouraging others to create works of their own, her main goal is to live and share a life of peace.
For more information, please visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/