GPRC Independent Studies


April 15, 2021 - May 30, 2021

“I would be so much more interested if I could make my own work.”

These are words that we frequently hear from our students. But the reality of free choice is often more overwhelming than expected. If you’re not an artist currently enrolled in school or working in a shared space, chances are, you spend a lot of time alone in your studio. Without the feedback from your peers and mentors, moments of doubt can often snowball into bigger anxieties.

The Grande Prairie Regional College Fine Arts Department special projects class allows students to realize their dreams and ambitions of making artwork while providing structure and guidance from an instructor. More importantly, is the community that is created. The creative community bolsters us on the days when we aren’t feeling confident or motivated and helps move you forward in your work. You can see what your peers are creating and swap ideas, techniques, inspirations and aspirations.

I am always very proud and excited to see the variety and depth of the work these artists create.

Tina Martel


Special Projects

Grande Prairie Regional College Fine Arts Department

Independent Studies : Open Studio

This year 3 artists from the Independent Studies group were able to be involved in the Independent Studies :Open Studio which is set up on the second floor of the Gallery from February 24, 2021 until March 24, 2021. These local artists are; Carol Bromley Meers, Katherine Moe and Wenoa Backer-Kisner. This area gives the students the opportunity to create works in the same space their exhibition will be on display in. As we were hopeful to be open to the public by the time their Open Studio was going on, this would have allowed the community to walk by and see how each artist’s art making process worked and chatted to the artist’s in their studios. As the gallery is still closed to the public, we are creating ‘process videos’, these videos will show each artist’s techniques and give an idea on how they produce their artworks.

View the Gallery below for the Independent Studies : Open Studio documentation and images of the students installing their exhibition.

This exhibition is brought to you by:

About The Artist


The ocean is a deep, dark and mysterious place. The octopus is the creature that epitomizes the unknown nature of that world. Alien, bizarre, mysterious and highly intelligent.

This piece came about as my interest was piqued from the stories of escape and the reasoning that this being exhibits. This creature that can squeeze itself through the tiniest of openings has no skeleton. How could I depict a soft bodied cephalopod with my materials of choice? Welded steel and rawhide.

The piece carries on with my theme of decay. A soft animal becomes a version of what might be left of a land version of an octopus, like an exoskeleton of a beetle.

I enjoyed this period of studying the anatomy and characteristics of this amazing animal. I hope that octopuses will forever continue to fascinate the human race and that their world be forever respected.


My theme in this series is “out and about,” relating to memories from travelling and feelings of missing the travelling that had become such a part of my life and so many lives in our mobile society. I have no family members locally, so trips to visit them were frequent and important. Excursions abroad or to western American states have also been put on hold because of the pandemic and political situations. But sometimes a little exploration locally brings a bit of inspiration. Cyanotype printing and toning plus encaustic painting add a sense of mystery to a straightforward photograph or photogram.


Arcana Vigilo

(arcana - secrets; vigilo - watching)

Bring all that is fear and all that is terror and all that is the awful dread that crawls and chokes and blinds and falls and twists and leaves and hides and weaves and burns and hunts and rips and bleeds and dies.

There’s not much of a difference between wonder and horror. Their root is fascination.

Give something a name and you give it meaning, but that can be a burden.

Drawing things that can be considered hideous or horrible or ugly with love can make them beautiful instead. Without love, it cannot be seen.

Beautiful ugly, elegant body horror, break a body down to build it up again.

Look, then look again and tell me what you see.

“I think our experience of the universe has value. Even if it disappears forever.”

“What a lonely way to look at things.”

*This set of works were based on the story and characters of The Magnus Archives, a podcast written by Jonny Sims, and produced by Rusty Quill.


This body of work delves into the idea of finding home, and how that home can be found wherever we may go. It consists of two separate pieces. The grid piece consists of photographs of places in Grande Prairie that are similar to my own home in The Northwest Territories, I transferred each picture onto an unfinished cut of wood. The images include a set of footprints, the path under the stars and the trees surrounding water are all featured on unfinished wood, which references nature.

The massive nests are constructed with fallen branches, each one big enough to allow for growth. Moving for any reason is hard, but finding places that give comfort and walls to live within, is finding home for me.


During the past two semesters, as part of the GPRC Visual Arts Independent Studies class, I explored ways of visually communicating, with acrylic paint and magazine images, some of my outdoor experiences of encountering Alberta wildlife.

I discovered the provincial government’s Watchable Wildlife program when travelling through Hinton in summer of 2020, after recently moving back to Grande Prairie, AB. The road signs, Watchable Wildlife, struck me as a little bit ironic, as if the wildlife inhabitants were now a marketable product made available for human recreation value and the entertainment of tourists. As it turns out, the Watchable Wildlife program will not be continued in 2021.

In making this work, I’m interested in the juxtaposition of Alberta wildlife with consumerism, marketing, and technology, and of wild creatures and humans tenuously sharing space in a changing environment. I experimented with ways of visually depicting these ideas by using brightly coloured outlines, photo transfer and collage in my acrylic paintings.


When I first started to use candy as a subject for my still life paintings I started by seeing candy as accessible, positively silly and light hearted in spirit. Much how one might attempt to approach life and find joys in the everyday.

The scale of the work, making them larger than life, changed their meaning. The saying "too much of a good thing" came to mind.

The history of candy became a source of inspiration. In the past, to achieve bright colours, candy manufactures included ingredients that caused the candy to literally be toxic when consumed. This inspired the use of bright over-lite and over saturated coloured paint.

These ideas have led to thinking of these candies much like the behaviours, habits and thoughts we have everyday. It is often stressed, especially this past year, that these should always be positive in nature.  But is it not important at times to be aware that even positivity like this candy, can become too much of a good thing?


I have been an electrician for 10 years in which I have to abide by a strict code book. Art has allowed me to explore an abstract and intuitive side of life. The alcohol ink process requires moving fluid along the canvas and plexiglass, mixing existing colours or pulling new colours out of a single ink colour. I hope the viewer gets lost in the lines, shapes and depth of colour that manifest.


I am fascinated with old forgotten vehicles. Parts and pieces, I love them all.

I love the shiny patina of the aging paint, the invasion of rust on exposed areas and the durability of each model’s unique characteristics.

Often, they are hiding amid an overgrown stand of trees and shrubs.  But the glimmer of chrome will draw me in and there I’ll meet the proud gaze of a headlight or a vacant stare from an empty socket. I scout their exteriors for tell tale symbols proclaiming their model and origin. I scout their interiors ignoring the sagging upholstery and study the console for stages in technology. I dream about the past and create scenarios of who drove and loved this vehicle and how it became stowed away hidden amongst the weeds.

My work is the result of visiting and studying these old relics. I want to celebrate their existence and offer a memorial to their service.


My artwork takes a glimpse into the personal effects that 2020+ has had on creativity. I reference fantasy inspired subjects since games and fictional media have been essential coping mechanisms. I have layered these ideas with charcoal for its intense value from dark to light. I use many non-representational patterns with flowing lines to give a sense of trauma and hopelessness.


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