Art for Art’s Sake - Lynne Harrison, Colour Alchemist

Canmore based artist Lynne Harrison stands with some of her latest work at the opening of her show called Transition at the Avens Gallery at 101-710 Main Street. She is wearing one of her Alchemy of Ride active mountain wear tops decorated with her artwork. photo by Pam Doyle/pamdoylephoto.com

Share Adjust Comment Print

Lynne Harrison is a true mountain girl who sees the world in vivid colours.

Her paintings of mountains, animals and scenery are currently on display in her show called Transition at the Avens Gallery on Main Street in Canmore.

“I just turned 59,” Harrison said. “And I call the show Transition because I am transitioning from a different place in life and transitioning my art from a style people recognize me with. Now I’m doing some prairie scenes, which is totally different for me. Transition is part of the normalcy of life.”

Harrison has always been an artist.

“My brother always remembers me as a child with a crayon, pencil or paintbrush in my hand,” Harrison said.

After attending university for journalism at 21 years old, Harrison jumped on a plane and moved to Whistler, where she stayed for eight years.

“I was in a bunch of galleries,” Harrison said. “The art scene was gift shops and store galleries. I painted mountains, loons and whales. And I skied.”

Harrison moved to interior B.C. where she met former Canadian Alpine Ski Team ‘Crazy Canuck’ member Dave Irwin.

“Dave asked me to move to Canmore with him,” Harrison said. “Three months later, he had his skiing accident. I looked after him for four years.”

Irwin had a debilitating brain injury after a crash during a skier cross race but thanks to Harrison’s persistence, pushing him to learn how to use his brain again with puzzles, doctor visits and a lot of love, Irwin now skis like a pro over 70 days a year, drives and lives a normal life in Canmore with Harrison, who is now his wife.

“In 2004 I picked up the brush again and had a huge show in Calgary,” Harrison said. “Then John Borrowman, who used to own Avens Gallery, took me on as an artist. I did a big show of significant Native chiefs and spiritual leaders.”

In 2009, her son was sick and she took a break to care for him.

“I opened my gallery Silver Tree Studios on Main Street in Canmore in 2014,” Harrison said.

She came up with an idea to put her artwork onto active mountain wear like ski jackets and pants and bicycling jerseys and gloves and called the line Alchemy of Ride. Now her wildly coloured ski outfits can be seen on local slopes and also on skiers at resorts all over the world. Her gallery is now closed but she still sells her clothing online and in pop-up stores.

“A major ski publication contacted me and we did a big photo shoot for this fall,” Harrison said.

The brightly coloured ski and bike clothing is a stark contrast to the all black outfits that are still worn on the slopes and trails.

“My goal is to get people out of black, one person at a time,” Harrison said.

Now her artwork is similar with the same beautiful colours but they are toned down a bit and a little softer. She even has paintings of fields of hay bales.

“It’s been really fun because I have the space in my life and mind to do new work that I didn’t have the room for,” Harrison said. “It’s been fantastic to be invited into the Avens Gallery again.”

The Avens Gallery features over 40 artists from Western Canada from Canmore, Calgary, Kelowna and the Okanogan all the way to Salt Spring Island.

“Lynne fits in so well because there is only one artist in the gallery like her,” Betti Irwin, Avens Gallery manager said. “She’s unique and we are very careful to keep our gallery unique. We’re all original, there are no prints. We’ve always had the goal of being the art destination of Western Canada.”

For more on Harrison or Alchemy of Ride clothing please visit her website at www.alchemyofride.ca.

Comments