Portraits of the past

Saskatoon artist Paige Mortensen’s latest exhibition, 'Portals,' is coming to the Mann Art Gallery on May 26. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Saskatoon artist uses uncommon watercolour technique in latest exhibit

When Paige Mortensen was vacationing in the United Kingdom and France in 2008, her camera eye looked beyond the typical tourist sights.

The Saskatoon-based artist found herself drawn to the elaborately constructed doors and doorframes dating back to the medieval era. Mortensen wondered what lied beyond the antique thresholds.

“It was the doors that fascinated me. Who lived there and how did they build that and how did they get those little rocks way up there and get them to stay there without landing on somebody’s head?” she asked.

At first she didn’t do anything with the photographs. It was during a return trip, this time through Italy and southern France six years later, that Mortensen “got more into it.” She had recently discovered a Southeast Asian dying technique called batik, in which a dye-resistant wax is applied to a textile to allow an artist to selectively colour the material, and Mortensen was hoping to produce of series of watercolour batik paintings of 500-year-old European doors.

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Got to go:

What? Opening reception: Portals by Paige Mortensen

Where? Mann Art Gallery

When? Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m.

Admission? Free