When you step into an art gallery, you can usually expect to have to follow one simple rule: do not touch.

But that's not the case for Vancouver artist Angela Gooliaff's latest work. In fact, she's inviting audiences to help her finish it.

Gooliaff's exhibit is titled Winter Colouring Land. And it's basically a giant colouring book.

Wall art

The piece spans several walls at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford. (Jennifer Chen/CBC)

"It is 54 feet wide and nine feet high," she told CBC's Jennifer Chen on North by Northwest. "I'm exploring winter legends and myths and stories from all cultures — and this spans many eras."

The piece runs across several walls at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford, where patrons are invited to colour in the images that are reimaginings of classic winter tales from different cultures, including the Danish fairytale The Snow Queen, and the legend of Boreas, the Greek god of winter.

"As I was digging through winter legends and stories, I was starting to realise — there's a lot that's missing in these wonderful stories," she said.

RCMP colouring

An police officer gets one of the first cracks at colouring the piece.

Gooliaff's illustrations turn the stories on their head, often telling them from different perspectives, re-examining the relationship between good and evil.

But she says the most fun part about it is that the audience gets to put their own spin on it too.

"I am only 50 per cent of the process," she said. "It's an interactive show where people are supposed to come in here, grab a marker and have some fun."

colouring

Gooliaff says she's only 50 per cent of the process and is asking gallery patrons to finish the work. (Jennifer Chen/CBC)

The artist says she noticed adult colouring books have become popular in recent years, which partly inspired her to take on the project.

"I am very curious about social trends. What is somebody lacking in their life that they need to colour? We're going back to our youth, and doing stuff we used to do then."

She thinks colouring is meditative, and continues to be an outlet for the imagination, even into adulthood.

swan

The illustrations are Gooliaff's personal take on classic winter tales from across different cultures. (Jennifer Chen/CBC)

"It's so nice to just sit here and colour on this wall. You have the opportunity to come into an art gallery and colour. I would take advantage that — it's fun!"

The exhibition runs until Jan. 8, 2017.

With files from CBC's North by Northwest

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Giant colouring book brightens up dark, cold Abbotsford winter