Self applied pressure makes the brushes fly

Faro artist Jackie Irvine gave herself an assignment: paint 100 paintings in 100 days. And even though artists are better known for their creativity than their self-discipline, she managed to pull it off.

Faro artist Jackie Irvine gave herself an assignment: paint 100 paintings in 100 days.

And even though artists are better known for their creativity than their self-discipline, she managed to pull it off.

It was a lot work, but it was worth it, she said as she looked around at her first-ever gallery show hanging on the walls of Whitehorse’s Yukon Artists @ Work studio on Industrial Road.

The paintings are all acrylic-on-canvas. And they’re small – about eight inches by 10 inches or less.

The paintings are landscapes or nature-type scenes of forest floors and creek beds, but almost all share a common focus: light.

“I love colour and light,” said Irvine. “It’s something that really stimulates me. When I’m painting, I like to capture that. And I’d like to improve on that.

“I’d like to get really good at that because to me that’s what makes a really beautiful painting, when you have light.”

Irvine dubs her work impressionistic realism. It’s a description that fits the romanticism of the scenes she paints with light and colour dancing across Yukon skies.

Irvine paints mainly from photographs.

But not always.

There are a few pieces in her portfolio that came from inspired imagination, she said.

And it is with these that the impressionist in her shines.

The style was founded and made famous by the flowers and lily pads of French painter Claude Monet. It is known for its swabs of paint that look like little more than blobs of colour up close, but step back and they take shape as breathtaking gardens and skies.

Irvine points to the few pieces that she committed to canvas from “imagination.” Using thick paints and a “mixed molding paste,” it allows a third dimension to stand off the canvas with bold, coloured strokes.

Their lines are less strict, their content less defined.

And they were some of the first to sell, Irvine admitted somewhat sheepishly.

The complete 100 pieces are not all hanging in this gallery. The project has already been reduced by about 30, Irvine said.

But the exhibit has been accented with some of her bigger pieces.

Although this is her first studio show, Irvine has been painting for years.

“I’ve wanted to be a painter since I was five years old,” she said.

She spent her childhood as a military daughter, moving all around Canada. Then she and her husband decided to make their “home” in the Yukon nearly 15 years ago.

The couple has raised their family on an acreage just outside of Faro. All the while, Irvine has been teaching herself how to paint.

Irvine didn’t begin her artistic career with landscapes, she said. She began with pastels and portraits and was later mentored by water-colour artists. But it was the move to the Yukon that pushed her into landscapes.

This latest idea of 100 paintings in 100 days put pressure on her creativity and artistic process, but challenging herself in this way appears to have been successful, she said.

“I am really pleased with the results, obviously I have a lot of paintings to show for it,” she added. “Who knows what the next project is going to be?

“I do want to have another project but I want it to be something that I’m inspired with. It’s not just going to be something like: ‘OK, I have to do something else.’ It has to come to me. It’s really good to have a goal on the short term.

“It makes me more disciplined. My creative process is very spontaneous and intuitive.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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