Alison Newth and Diana Hofmann didn't plan to tread similar territory when putting together their debut exhibit for Peace Gallery North.
But when you're bound by the same surroundings and happen to be good friends since elementary school, layering the same themes and settings into your work, it turns out, is simply second nature.
Newth and Hofmann unveiled their first exhibit, Nature Captured, to a well-attended opening at the gallery on July 13.
"I think with most artists, you do a lot of nature," says Newth. "I love the Fort St. John area, and the Peace River is very inspiring."
Nature Captured is a lively contrast of Newth's vibrant, colourful acrylics of her favourite river viewpoints, paired with Hofmann's monochrome prints of wild life that jump off the wall with carefully chosen bursts of colour.
Both grew up in the area and attended Alwin Holland, but only recently became involved in the local arts scene.
"The area, I don't think there is much changed," says Hofmann. "It's the same beauty. But doing art, you pay way more attention than you did before."
Not only paying attention, but preserving detail. Newth's work capture views of the Peace River before it will be inundated by the Site C dam, such as Bear Flat.
"You want to appreciate things while you have it," Newth says.
Both credit the Flying Colours Artists' Association for pushing them to take the arts more seriously, and for pushing them into the scene, first through group exhibitions, and now with an exhibition to call their own.
"Before Flying Colours, I didn't do art. I doodled a lot," says Hofmann.
"The very first day I went there, someone gave me a piece of linoleum to carve and from there I've been obsessed with printmaking. It consumes you."
Art, as it is for most, is an escape, a reminder to step outside and immerse oneself in their imagination.
"I feel we're very consumed indoors with technology," Newth says.
"When you look outside, there's so much to appreciate."
Nature Captured is on display at Peace Gallery North until Aug. 4.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at firstname.lastname@example.org.