Five questions to Billie Rae Busby

Five questions to Billie Rae Busby

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Billie Rae Busby is a Canadian visual artist born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan in 1975. Based in Calgary, Alberta in Western Canada, she creates abstract landscape paintings. After graduating from University in Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts (Studio Art) in 1998, Billie Rae Busby has been pursuing her current focus of combining hard-edge abstract painting with landscape inspirations since 2007.
How did you get into art?

Growing up, I was always the artsy kid who was always drawing, painting or making something crafty, and I even won the “Art Award” upon high school graduation. Everyone in my life expected me to go to art school but I instead took a double degree at University in which I achieved a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (Sport Management) and an art degree specializing in drawing. Over the last twenty years, I had a successful career in sports marketing along with building my painting practice. I left that career to become a full-time artist in February 2021.

How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?

My style is abstract landscape painting using a hard-edge technique with acrylic paint and masking tape. Growing up and living in Western Canada, I experience a paradoxial attraction for both rural and urban scapes. I am inspired by moments in the sky and land showcasing wonder and possibility such as sunsets, hot summer days, autumn fields, northern lights, and cloudy storms to just name a few. My artworks are special because I use edges, shapes, lines and colour to depict movement, mood, memory and time to interpret ordinary places and our surroundings in a fresh, new context.

How do you go about developing your work?

I often start out with photographs of our landscape that either I have taken or friends and fans have shared with me. I use these photographs as inspiration for composition or colour, but most of the time, it is my imagination and an intuitive painting process that takes over. I most often do not sketch out my paintings ahead of time, and simply choose the mood, time of day, season and horizon line and begin painting. My work takes a lot of patience as I need to wait in between the hard-edge layers for the paint to dry before adding more tape and acrylic paint so this allows me the opportunity for artist resolve and shifting perspectives.

Who or what influences you? 

My biggest inspiration are those unexpected, fleeting moments in the sky you may see when out for a walk or a drive, such as a storm rolling in, or those brief blissful minutes when the sun shines onto pink and orange clouds during a sunset. If you don’t pay attention, you may miss it. Technically as a painter, I am challenged by continuously playing with colour theory and its endless combinations. I love seeing how other visual artists, both abstract and figurative, use courageous colour in their works.

What are you planning to do next?

Next up is a series of large-scale, horizontal paintings for a client in Alberta, as well as a solo show at one of my Canadian commercial galleries in early 2024. I have been painting abstract landscapes for more than 16 years and still have a lot to say and explore; I am constantly excited about where and how this style can be pushed and expanded. I feel really lucky and grateful to get to paint everyday. Instagram