Those departing for a flight at the Kelowna International Airport in the next few months will get one last dose of Okanagan sunshine, thanks to a local artist.
Coldstream’s Heidi Thompson has just had five of her abstract paintings, inspired by the Okanagan’s hot summers, dry grasslands, and radiant sunsets, installed in the Kelowna Art Gallery’s satellite space at the Kelowna airport.
The installation, entitled OK Sunshine, is located in the departure hall at the airport until Nov. 7.
“I felt honoured to be invited by the Kelowna Art Gallery to create a series of paintings that would hang at the Kelowna airport,” said Thompson. “I love the airport venue – a 40-foot wall at the entrance to the security gate – as it exposes the work to thousands of travellers from around the world who might otherwise not have seen them.”
Kelowna Art Gallery curator Liz Wylie and her assistants installed the exhibit this past week, which Thompson says was quite a task.
“It felt great to have a team working together. The opportunity provided an artistic challenge beyond what I had done in the past. It was not easy to create a unified body of large-size pieces that worked as a whole. I certainly felt challenged and had to do several attempts at each piece before I was happy,” she said.
The end result, a multi-panelled installation to convey the feeling and quality of the light in the Okanagan summer, certainly stands out in its textured bright yellow and gold colours.
Thompson says she has strived to express not only the natural beauty of the valley, but more profoundly, provide a mirror of our joyful spirits and inner light.
“The paintings remind travellers that no matter where their journey takes them, they will always carry along the most beautiful place in the world – their land of inner sunshine,” she said.
Thompson was born in Vernon and has lived in Coldstream since 1982, where she has worked as an art educator and illustrator.
She was trained in Europe in the 1970s and ‘80s, and continues to work as an abstract painter. She is also the editor of the award-winning book Recapitulation: A Journey, by Sveva Caetani.