Painting in the scenic, nature-filled hills of Wells, BC was a fruitful avenue for connection between Natasha Lepine and her mentor Peter Corbett. For a number of their mentorship sessions, the pair met to paint plein air alongside one another. For Natasha, in the beginning, the idea of painting next to someone else was intimidating. After their second session, she felt very at ease and realized that sharing and creating with other artists should be, rather than nerve wracking, relaxing and comforting.
Natasha Lepine: The time spent with Peter felt more like I was hanging out with a friend who was still guiding me. Our mentorship focused on learning how to channel nature into art in a more emotional sense. In highschool or in any other art lessons I’ve taken, I’ve been taught to focus on accuracy and detail and to try to make things look exactly as you see it. With Peter, he helped me focus more on what emotions I feel from a landscape and how to make a painting more interesting by changing things like adding a tree here or a cloud. Thinking about what’s more eye-catching. The composition doesn’t have to be accurate, it just has to be mostly what you’re feeling in that moment. I started oils with him, and I had never done oil painting before. We also talked about what being an artist is like in a professional sense and the great things like grant writing, which I’m very new to. A lot of the things that we discussed, I was able to flip into my own interpretation and then talk about during my Culture Days event when we went for the nature walk.
Peter Corbett: As an artist (and a scientist) I strongly believe in the mentorship process. Throughout my career, at various stages, I greatly benefited from a variety of mentors sharing their knowledge and experience with me and giving me the confidence to pursue my goals. This is a never-ending process, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to give back to others. Plein air painting can be very intimidating and fraught with many challenges not experienced in your studio practice. Natasha and I focused on these challenges and helped her develop a better sense of the landscape and how you may personally interpret it through your artistic practice.
BC Culture Days: Peter, was there a key memory for you from the experience that you continue to reflect on?
Peter Corbett: On one of our first outdoor painting sessions, the day was cold, wet, windy and mosquito infested. The light was quite flat which can be very challenging unto itself. Natasha seemed right at home under these trying conditions, smiling the entire time and completed a lovely painting of this experience.
Natasha is a true kindred spirit and I hope we will continue this journey together into the future.
Natasha Lepine is a Métis artist who grew up in the small community of Wells, B.C., which kicked off her deep appreciation for both the outdoors and the arts. Throughout her school years, she found that most art classes didn’t focus on creativity as much as they did perfectionism. After graduating, Natasha decided her goal would be to channel emotions, stories, and fragments of ourselves that we’ve long forgotten into artwork. Since then, she has explored a variety of mediums but seems to enjoy creating with acrylic paints and polymer clay. Her work is often credited for bringing forward a “warm and comforting feeling” in others. Lately, she has been connecting with her Métis heritage and has been using elements of her ancestry in her polymer clay accessories. Throughout the summer months, Natasha travels across B.C. to attend multiple markets where she sells her work. Natasha also hosts a Teen Art Space in Quesnel, a safe space where youth come and are encouraged to simply create what they feel like with the materials provided. Her goal for the future is to continue inspiring the local youth to express themselves through art and to help motivate others into appreciating the beautiful combination of the outdoors and art.
Peter Corbett is a professional painter and biologist with a studio located in Wells, B.C. As an artist as well as a scientist, he has developed a keen sense of observation of the natural world. As a painter, Peter is most interested in working plein air, quickly capturing the effects of light and the relationship of shapes and colour on the landscape. From these painted field sketches, he draws inspiration to create larger works on canvas in the studio. In addition to his artistic practice, he hosts annual multi-day guided residencies and workshops with an emphasis on plein air painting. He loves sharing art and artistic experiences with others and through this collaborative process finding his own artistic practice growing richer over time. Peter’s work can be found in both private and public collections around the world. He was once represented by major commercial galleries across Canada but has since struck out on his own and can be found in his gallery/studio in the St. George church in Wells, BC.