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Over the mountain

Victoria artist to be featured at Chateau Lake Louise
Phillipa Hudson is producing three eight-feet wide paintings to hang in the newly renovated reception area of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Six years into her retirement, it’s starting all over again for Phillipa Hudson.

The retiree, if you can call her that, has switched gears as the former owner and operator of Mineral World and Scratch Patch in Sidney, and is now a commissioned painter, currently under contract to one of the world’s leading interior designers for hotels.

Hudson is finishing the third of a three-painting project, all of which measure five-foot-six-inches by eight-feet, and will hang over the registration desks at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park later this month.

“It was a huge excitement but also a lot of anxiety, as I hadn’t been commissioned before and I have always painted on 24 by 30-inch paintings,” Hudson said.

“I put all my creative energy into jewelry and the store for 14 years. I always knew I would paint when I got the chance, and now I love it,” Hudson said.

Her paintings, which can be seen online at, are gaining notice and income, which is not what she expected from the hobby venture.

A collection of Hudson’s work, including the original two by three-foot proofs of the three paintings going to the Fairmont at Lake Louise, will be on display at the Eclectic Gallery in Oak Bay, May 6 to June 15. Hudson will be on hand Thursday night (May 9), from 7 to 9 p.m.

U.S.A.-based Hirsch Bedner Associates is leading the remodelling of the reception area at the Fairmont Chateau. It was HBA which pursued Hudson when they saw images of her West Coast and Rocky Mountain scenes.

“HBA were cruising the Internet for artists who paint mountains, looking for a particular style,” Hudson said. “They wanted something with vibrant colours that fit with their colour scheme.”

Initially, Hudson forwarded six creations for HBA’s approval, all on two by three-foot canvases, of which HBA chose three. Then each of the three had to be recreated three times, in similar but slightly different form, until the final selections were made.

All are of prominent landscapes from the region: Lake McArthur in Yoho National Park, Mount Rundle in Banff National Park and the Three Sisters above Canmore. Each feature golden fauna from the fall season swaying in the foreground, larch trees, aspens and marshes.

“Adjusting to the size of the canvas was easier than I thought it would be,” Hudson said. “Though I did think I was going to be painting them in the garage.”

Gracefully, HBA allowed her to scale the height of the canvases down to five-feet-six-inches from the original six-feet, because they didn’t fit through her studio door.

To bring consistency between the three paintings, Hudson limited herself to 12 colours.

“One of the things they wanted was vibrancy and colour, a touch of abstract, not totally realistic.”

It’s a considerable jump into being a professional painter as Hudson started as an adult and has only been painting since she sold Mineral World six years ago. She’s had to lay out the massive canvases on the same studio tables of her North Saanich home where she crafted jewelry.

“I’ve been mountaineering and hiking for decades and always shooting pictures. It’s those which I use for inspiration and to paint from. This is my retirement. I love it. I hope more can come from it.”