Edmonton artist finds inspiration in the Okanagan, paints Oliver Theatre and Kelowna boat dock

Oliver Theatre painted

A 28-year-old interior designer from Edmonton who was laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic has found inspiration in the Okanagan for starting a new business.

Aven Morken is an artist and entrepreneur who is planning on moving to the region. In August, she started a greeting card and poster print company called Gifted Goods with some of her artwork based on Okanagan landscapes and buildings.

“For one thing, the landscape and scenery completely inspires me, but right now Alberta is in a recession so that kind of leads me into why I started Gifted Goods,” she explains.

After being laid off and realizing there was no jobs for interior designing in Edmonton, she spent a month at her parents house in Osoyoos painting things for her new business.

“Being completely immersed in the surroundings, it was just divine,” she says. “I’m a very creative person so I felt just so much creative energy just needed to be released and that was definitely a release for me.”

Morken says when she’s outdoors, she’s taking photographs. These photographs later become reference material for her watercolour creations, including the Oliver Theatre.

“As we were driving out to my parents home in Osoyoos I noticed this amazing building architecture. It completely drew my eye and I noticed that the neon wasn’t turned on,” she says, adding that she returned at 6 a.m. the next day hoping it would be turned on but it wasn’t.

“The next day I went there and asked them ‘do you mind if you turn your neon on for me?’ and they were so sweet they did. So I came back the next day at 6 a.m. again and photographed it during dawn. It was just gorgeous and then I turned that photograph into a watercolour painting.”

Another painting Morken completed is one of the boat docks in Kelowna.

“The mountains in the background, the water, it’s just got it all right. The Okanagan is immensely photographic,” she says.

“Creating a greeting card, I can do that anywhere but to find scenes that are completely captivating to me and are inspiring, I had to travel 18 hours to find that,” she laughs.

Morken’s greeting card collections include cards for the holidays, birthdays, babies, thank you's, engagements and more.

The Oliver Theatre print will be available in the coming weeks and Morken plans on creating more pieces based on the Okanagan.

“I wanted to create Gifted Goods so that friends can stay close during the pandemic and I want my art to be very positive,” she says.

You can look at Morken's personal artwork on her Instagram here. To view Gifted Goods on Instagram click here.

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