Capturing a moment of wonder in the Canadian Rockies has a Rossland artist’s vision engraved onto a newly minted coin.
Stéphanie Gauvin’s rendering of B.C.’s Tower Peak in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is the first painting recreated in a four-piece silver coin series by the Royal Canadian Mint, called Canadian Landscape – The Rockies.
“It is always my goal in painting to express the awe and grandeur of the landscape,” says Gauvin. “And capture how I felt when immersed in it.”
She submitted pieces that answered to “The Rockies” theme last year after being contacted by a marketing person from the mint.
The chosen painting is part of a series of works she produced while on a “plein air” trip to the Rockies two years ago.
En plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air.” It’s used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is also called peinture sur le motif (painting of the object or what the eye actually sees) in French.
Using reference photos from the seven-day hike into the park, Gauvin chose to render the Tower Peak range, bathed in early morning light.
She describes the point of interest as the rocky mountain tops, painted in the golden sunrise.
“I played with complimentary colours to emphasize the impact of the scene by framing the image with the blues of the foreground spruces and sky to contrast the towers as the central point of interest,” she explained.
The shady patches of snow lead the eye to the grassy valley floor, Gauvin added, to sunlit rocks in a long diagonal shape, keeping the image flowing and dynamic.
Holding a fine arts degree from Sherbrooke College, the Quebec native has called the west coast home for 25 years.
Married with two children and living in the Alpine City, Gauvin has been a full-time artist since 2003.
“I feel extremely privileged having my art on the silver coloured coin,” she said. “Painting is my vocation, so it is truly an honour.”
Located 48 kilometres southwest of Banff, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park was established in 1922. In 1990, the park was recognized by the United Nations as a world heritage site within the Rockies.