(Written by Sharman Horwood) Most of Shirley Wyngaard’s work is in landscapes. By painting landscapes, she aims “not to duplicate the landscape but to respond to it as a human being.” Consequently, in her paintings, she can interpret the “moods” of the natural world. Her favourite painting technique for this is Plein Air, the act of painting outdoors. She says, “the more I paint Plein Air . . . the more I am in touch with nature and life itself.” For landscape artists, the advantage is the opportunity of working in natural light. She finds this spontaneous and inspiring—like the Impressionists—but challenging. In order to fix that mood on her canvas, she has to work fast with oil paints to translate the effects of the sudden combination of “colour, light, space and form,” to convey her impressions of the sudden moment. She finds the Kootenay Lake landscape particularly dramatic. The distance from one side of the lake to the other lends a quality of serenity to her landscapes. Shirley also likes to paint pears. For her, they express relationships. They convey personality in their shape, their colours, and the way she can place them on the canvas. Their juxtaposition, even the way their stems point, can all convey emotional gestures that can be humorous. While Shirley’s landscapes express serenity, the pears, and her other favourite subjects—flowers—all communicate joy. With vibrant colours, and the dramatic use of their shapes—the petals, the stems and leaves—they display an emotional character.