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Art reflects interests for Britton

Western themes …

Art in the Country has become an annual summer-long event at Cherrydale Golf and Campground east of Yorkton.

This year the course's rustic clubhouse will display the artworks of more than 30 area artists. Among the artists displaying work is Tracey Britton who is partaking for the first time.

Britton said she had not known about the show until course owner Dale Cherry approached her.

"I actually had my works on display at the Ice Cream Cabin in the mall (Parkland Mall)," she said, adding " Dale came in and said he'd like to have my work in the show."

Britton said she has three pieces in the show, adding the selection of the work was made based simply on the pieces being the latest she has completed.

The artist said she isn't especially prolific in terms of creating new works.

"I don't have the time," she said, adding she picks up a brush "whenever I can find the time, then I work at it a bit, but it's few and far between right now."

The pieces in the Cherrydale show follow popular themes for Britton, one detailing a cowboy, another a rodeo clown, and the third a powwow participant.

"A lot of my art is western-themed, powwows, cowboys, horses," she said.

The themes are one Britton said are of interest given her own background.

"I was born and raised on a farm," she said. "And I've been around rodeo all my life."

As for powwow, Britton said the vibrancy of the aboriginal dancing is a natural attraction for an artist.

"It's all the energies and the colours," she said. "I tend to use them a lot as subject matter

"It's wonderful to be able to capture that, to paint that on canvas, to capture that energy I find that a challenge."

Britton said while still in British Columbia she did a series of large four-foot-by-five-foot pieces, all themed on the powwow. She did five in the set called 'Rhythm of the Drum'.

While time is of the essence for Britton these days, so works tend to be smaller, she wants to return to larger works soon.

"I have six of the bigger canvases at home stretched and ready to go, I just haven't had time to do the next series I want," she said.

In terms of an idea for the larger canvases, Britton said she has two ideas, including revisiting powwows again.

To capture the intricacies of her subjects, Britton said she often relies on a camera first.

"I use a lot of my own photographs for reference material," she said, adding she also turns to the Internet at times. "It's a wonderful tool."

As for mediums, Britton gravitates to two; oil and graphite.

The oils are used for her colour works, including those of powwow dancers.

The graphite is used to create black and white art which she said is ideal for the western-themed pieces."Doing a western picture in watercolour, or oil doesn't have the same impact it does in graphite," she said.

While oil is often seen as a difficult medium to work with, Britton said that is part of the allure of using it.

"I think it's the tradition. Oil paint has been around for centuries and centuries," she said, adding " it's more of a challenge to get the medium to do what you want it to do."

While at present Britton said art is still a hobby for her, she does want it to evolve into a career. She added the step to getting to the point where art supports the family is a big one.

"I think you need that one big show where you sell out and people go 'hey I want her art'," she said.

To that end, Britton has one goal immediately on the horizon.

"I want to get my work into the Calgary Stampede," she said, adding she has applied in the past, but feels they seek "established artists" and that means paying her dues and building a resume.

The show at Cherrydale kicked off Saturday with an opening reception, and will remain on display until September.