When Alberta's provincial flower put on a show, a Fort McMurray artist did the same

The wild rose in Alberta is so common that it's almost ubiquitous, the pinks and greens of its buds, flowers and hips dotting the province's landscape but rarely making a splash.

But a Fort McMurray artist thought she saw something special happening this year and has turned that vision into an eight-piece, multi-media collection incorporating weaving, painting, photography and sculpting that has become her first online exhibition.

The show is titled, appropriately enough, Wild Rose. 

Artist Erin Stinson said she felt inspired by the often overlooked flowering plant which seemed to be extra plentiful this summer.

She photographed a wild rose bud in June — "It just spoke to me, begging me to pay attention" — and that developed into the eight-piece collection she is now selling. 

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Stinson felt like the wild rose was "putting on a show" this year. 

"I think we sort of take things for granted or overlook their beauty," she said.

Stinson wanted to use a wide variety of techniques to make the collection, so she dyed wool with wildflower petals, used watercolour to incorporate petals and thorns into paintings, and incorporated the stamen and sepal of a rose hip in her sculpture. 

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She tried to capture all the elements of the rose including the smell. For that piece, she started by creating a detailed painting then she slowly painted over parts of the canvas to exclude the detail and make it more abstract. The piece is called Fragrance.  

For another painting, she took clippings of rose thorns and put them in the centre of the painting. 

This isn't Stinson's first exhibit but it is the first one that is online. She said she wanted more people to have access to the work, so she thought showing it online would let a much larger number of people view it. 

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Stinson got the idea for the collection while walking through trails near Fort McMurray. She often takes long hikes because the colours, smells and sounds inspire her work. 

She goes out with a large glass jar and takes clippings of flowers, leaves and fireweed floss, and continuously snaps photos with the camera she carries.

One of the paintings sold just one week after putting up the exhibition. 

Her next collection will be influenced by the fall colours, and she plans on experimenting with fabric. She wants to incorporate fireweed floss into a felt and see if she can weave with it. 

Jamie Malbeuf/CBC