Monique Archambault, known to most as Niqi (pronounced Nikki), will be showing her acrylic on canvas paintings to the public for the first time Dec. 14 at the Sasquatch. She will be presenting the results of an ambitious 18-month project consisting of a series of 12 paintings inspired by the beauty of the Creston area, each representing a different month.
The mother of two teenaged daughters, Archambault is unable to work outside of the home due to a chronic pain condition. But it was through learning to manage her condition that she discovered her talent for painting.
“I was taking a class for chronic pain and they suggested to explore things that you enjoy doing to find a distraction that would engage you enough to distract you from the pain,” the 40-year-old recalled. “I remembered really enjoying painting with my daughter when she was younger, and we still had some supplies, so I thought maybe I’ll try it again. And it helped so much! Those one or two hours I’m able to sit and do it, my pain is gone and I’m happy.”
After a few successful paintings, Archambault heard about a grant program for new artists and decided to apply.
“I knew I wanted it to be inspired by Creston,” she said. “And I wanted to do a calendar because I’ve always loved them. It’s exciting to get a new one every year and look at the artwork.
Her proposal was approved and she got to work.
Still a beginner, she learned and applied new techniques as she went. The progress can be seen from the first painting to the last ones.
“I learned so much through this process, and kept going because I had this goal,” she remarked. “I was so grateful to have the support and encouragement of the [regional arts council].”
Even though she’s happy to be finished the project, Archambault will not be resting on her laurels.
“I’m going to jump right back in,” she said. “I’ve got another painting on the go already.”
Archambault’s art show runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Sasquatch. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided. Guests can enter to win an original eight-by-ten painting. A calendar featuring all 12 paintings is available for purchase.
This project was made possible by a Columbia Basin Trust grant, and a Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance grant from the West Kootenay Regional Arts Council (WKRAC) and the Community of Creston Arts Council.
—BY MARC ARCHAMBAULT