Curator takes her place 

Helga Ruiterman finally has own show after five years of promoting others

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Colour Me Beautiful exhibit

When: Saturday, April 7, 7:30 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Admission: Free

For five years, Helga Ruiterman was the curator for the art gallery at MY Millennium Place, ushering in talent from the Sea to Sky corridor. However, so busy with her position, it wasn’t until she retired from the job earlier this year that she had the chance to celebrate the artwork nearest and dearest to her heart — her own.

Under the artist name Marielle, Ruiterman brings her own creative vision to MY Place walls, showcasing her landscapes, florals and portraits for the month of April. An artist’s welcoming reception for her new exhibit, Colour Me Beautiful, will be held on Saturday, April 7 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the gallery space located in the theatre foyer.

“I never had the space to squeeze myself in there,” she said. “I was never able to say no to artists and leave a space for my work.”

The job also kept her from creating new works. But following her resignation, she began putting paint to canvas as well as pen to calendar for the April show.

She broke away from three new paintings to talk with Pique Newsmagazine . She only has two more weeks before the opening date. Fortunately, photos taken over the summer at Whistler golf courses have left the acrylic and oil painter with plenty of inspiration. Ruiterman never needs to search out painting ideas, only time to paint.

“Whenever I see something pretty, I want to keep it,” she said.

Seven-foot tall sunflowers from Italy, poppies blooming in technicolor from her sister’s garden, the exotic face of a woman Ruiterman found in a magazine: All of these beauties make their way into a Marielle painting.

“I love to paint women; I like to paint things romantically,” she said. “I saw an image of a woman and just the way she was standing, it was beautiful. I put a dress on her and changed the image of the person. I wanted to make a Spanish woman, but she could also be native.”

Ruiterman talks about one of her paintings that illustrates the exotic flower Naomi, and while her portrait paintings are what grace the halls of her home and earn compliments from friends, Ruiterman is best known for her floral paintings — real yet seemingly unearthly displays of garden beauty.

“I call myself a modern realist,” she said. “The pictures are not old fashioned and yet I like to keep some realism in there with a touch of modernism.”

Ruiterman was given no choice in becoming an artist. As a young girl she couldn’t stay out of her father’s art book collection or his painter’s studio, where she was mesmerized by both colours and images made by greats such as Monet and Matisse.

Ruiterman is another great in her own right. For five years, she supported local artists and now she hopes they will return the favour by joining her for a celebration of both art and community Saturday, April 7.

Partial proceeds from painting sales will be donated to World Vision. Admission is free.

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