Wild in the city: an artistic spotlight on urban scenes of nature

In times of hardship, it is crucial to simply exist in the beautiful world we live in. Maxine Wolodko illuminates the unnoticed beauty found in nature all around us in her vividly illustrated painting exhibition Maxine Wolodko: Wild in the City.

“These creatures offer us the opportunity to slow down and see their magic – to appreciate nature in the midst of our everyday busy lives. They encourage us to be still and observe, listen and look,” she says.

Hosted by North Van Arts, Maxine Wolodko: Wild in the City will run Jan. 18 to Apr. 18 in the District Foyer Gallery located at North Vancouver District Hall.

Painting the unobserved

Wolodko paints ordinary scenes of nature – insects, plants and birds – that are abundant in Greater Vancouver, yet overlooked and greatly under appreciated.

Maxine Wolodko paints ordinary scenes of nature found around the Greater Vancouver area. | Painting by Maxine WSolodko

With her exhibition, Wolodko aims to draw attention to creatures that live in our background. She paints evocative scenes of birds, bees and even pets she has observed living in Vancouver, as nature and animals have always been a great source of inspiration for her. What can be seen in Vancouver’s parks, streets and backyards can be found painted on one of Wolodko’s canvases.

Wolodko invites her wide audience to take a moment in the hustle bustle of their lives to simply take in what is happening all around us. Be it a bumblebee pollinating a flower in the balmy spring air or a cat lazily grooming its fur, Wolodko asserts the bliss and serenity in these moments. Her work has helped her realize this, and she hopes it can do the same for others.

Additionally, Wolodko loves when people make connections between her work and their personal experiences.

“So many times, when someone chooses to purchase a painting, they tell me a story about why they chose it and how it fits into their life or relates to an experience they’ve had,” she recounts. “It adds meaning to the work that I didn’t know was there.”

To paint is to fully appreciate

Born in Edmonton, Wolodko has been involved in the arts for as long as she can remember. Her paintings of farms and fields reflect her upbringing in rural Alberta, along with paintings of the communities she knew.

Wolodko eventually went on to study fine arts at the University of Alberta. She currently divides her time between painting and graphic design projects, and enjoys the balance between the two. She is an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists whose artwork can be found not only at galleries, but at various shops and restaurants scattered throughout Vancouver as well.

Her main objective with her work remains clear, and is evident in her pieces. Not only does painting allow her to encapsulate small moments that bring her and others much happiness, they also serve as keepsakes for memories, thoughts and emotions.

“Painting is my way of fully appreciating ordinary moments before they can slip away and be forgotten. By recording the way things look, I also strive to capture the feeling of the moment,” Wolodko says.

Wolodko has been having a great deal of fun with her current exhibition, and is recently also enjoying working on larger landscapes. She finds it’s when she’s painting that her thoughts flow, where she’ll discover a path or direction she would want to follow and explore. In turn, her main goal right now is to keep something on the easel.

All who appreciate the profound loveliness in mundane moments are welcome to attend this exhibition, and those who are curious about or wanting to learn from this concept are encouraged to attend as well.

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