U of S grad student Gale Hagblom talks comfort and artist exploration The Sheaf September 29, 2013 12:00 am Culture WILLIAM LOUISON An example of Hagblom’s colour exploration. For Gale Hagblom, who has spent nearly her entire life being busy, painting is the one thing that she can do to put a moratorium on her daily bustle. She’s a mother, wife, daughter, friend, volunteer, former pre-school teacher and full-time graduate student, but still manages to find time to escape to her well-lit, spacious studio in the exhibition area of Saskatoon and delve into what she describes as “a direct interaction with the canvas”. “I always had an interest in art,” Hagblom said of her former years at Hugh Cairns Elementary and Walter Murray Collegiate. “I had a skill — a talent — that was pointed out by several teachers.” Referring to a specific memory, Hagblom recalls a teacher who took her aside and said, “It’s really difficult for me to teach students like you because you don’t appreciate the talent that you have. It’s wasted on you.” Hagblom admits that it did take her a long time to fully recognize her talent. Hagblom began her university career studying fine arts at the University of Saskatchewan, but eventually headed off to the Banff Centre for their arts to take a program in graphic design. What she learned in this program would inspire her to create a series of paintings she refers to as The Matrix. The Matrix paintings are her exploration of colours, lines and shapes — a type of abstract art that contrasts her many tranquil landscapes and powerful animals. She also studied at the Nova Scotia College of Arts Design University, of which she has many fond memories. “I had wonderful mentors,” she said.“They forced me to go out of my comfort zone and experiment with the canvas.” This prodding from her professors might have removed some of her control over her work, but it encouraged her to be spontaneous. “Nature is spontaneous,” Hagblom said. “We can only interpret that spontaneity because art is a celebration of nature. With my art, I’m trying to reproduce my experiences. It’s about me expressing myself.” Having people enjoy and appreciate her work is really just an added bonus. “I really do paint for myself,” Hagblom said. “If I don’t, then it doesn’t work. There’s no sincerity to it.” Hagblom has dabbled in other mediums, like ceramics and jewellery crafting. She does understand, though, that she only has limited time each day for her creative pursuits, which forces her to focus on things she loves. “It’s like picking a subject,” she said. And for her, there’s a lusciousness, longevity, pliability and versatility when painting with oils. “I’m always underestimating myself,” Hagblom confessed when prompted if she likes her paintings. In recent years, she has learned to not be so hard on herself. “I’ve had wonderful feedback throughout my life,” she said with a smile and a look of gratitude. “I just wasn’t mature enough to appreciate it before. I’m in my ‘50s now and it’s taken me that long to finally reach a point where I’m comfortable with myself and my skill-set.” She may indeed be in her ‘50s, but a gleam in Hagblom’s eye shows she has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. She’s always looking for the next opportunity to showcase her magnificent creations, exploring the possibility of expanding to galleries in other cities. She’s also returned to the U of S as a full-time student, working her way towards a masters in geography and planning. Check out Hagblom’s gallery at Calories Restaurant on Broadway, where it will be on display until Oct. 5, or at galehagblom.com. – Art: Gale Hagblom Prajwal She is the BEST!!!!