When Miroslava Gojdova is facing some heavy emotions, she paints.
Gojdova is a full-time nurse and mother in Port Alberni. She is also one of 10 artists whose work is included in Summer-Seasonal Imagery, an exhibit at the Rollin Art Gallery on display until Aug. 26.
“Sometimes my mechanisms for emotional survival cause me to disconnect from my own feelings,” Gojdova writes in her artist’s biography. “The knot of the spirit arises from the unspoken words yet it pours itself into intuition of colours. My hand becomes a tool that is guided by acknowledging my own emotions.”
Originally from Czechoslovakia, Gojdova moved to Port Alberni from Vancouver 13 years ago to take advantage of the housing market. “I love the nature here. I love the outdoors, it’s not really guarded, it’s close.”
Gojdova’s work “Spirit Koi” is the first time she has painted fish as a subject. “Spirit Koi” is the largest piece in Summer-Seasonal Imagery. The oil painting depicts a pair of koi fish circling each other, almost in a yin and yang pose. The top koi is painted in warm red tones and the bottom fish in cooler blue tones.
“For me, these fish represent the energy of male and female. The red one was representing for me the sun, and then the moon. It’s a close connection with someone but it won’t really go anywhere,” she explained. “It’s like a moment of spirit energy, how you feel connected at a soul level to that person.”
Gojdova said she usually works in oil, and will sometimes combine an acrylic underlay beneath the oil. “I usually cover my acrylic with oil because I like how oil blends better, where acrylic for me, you have to work super fast and I’m not so good at it. I like that I can blend more colours to it rather than ‘I’m stuck now.’”
She deliberately chose rich colours with depth for this piece. “It represents different energies, different (emotions). I think everybody needs a little colour in their life. Sometimes it’s just too black and white,” she says. “Feelings, places and hues of colours unlock my inner limitations by evoking a profound connection to nature within the mind, that becomes creative energy.”
The fish in “Spirit Koi” are flecked with gold, lending a multi-dimensional surface to the painting. Adding bits of shine to her work is a signature move for Gojdova. “I use that in every painting. Those are gold specks and silver specks. I use them in my art. Not maybe as much (as this piece); maybe just a few speckles.”
While “Spirit Koi” is a large canvas—approximately five feet wide by four feet tall—Gojdova said she works with canvases of all sizes, from this large down to smaller pieces. She loves the deep colours of oils, but also works in more muted pastels. She has done custom work where a client will show her the room where they want artwork and she will create a custom piece. “I’m flexible that way.”
Gojdova has been painting since she was 19 years old. She says she is self-taught. “I just went to the art store and picked up a few brushes, and went from there.”
She paints when she has spare time. “This is my therapy and my hobby; my time to get elsewhere in my mind. It’s a therapy I don’t have to pay for. My hand becomes a tool that is guided by acknowledging my own emotions.”
When she isn’t creating a picture on canvas with paint, Gojdova loves to take photographs. “I love taking pictures. That’s another element when you can get close to nature. I love dew drops, I love spider webs,” she says.
“We have beautiful nature around us and we sometimes take it for granted.”