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Canadian Artist of the Week
LOOK AT THIS: The Beguiling Gem Paintings Of Carly Waito
April 19, 2014
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Amethyst Mountain 2 (2013)
1/12 OPEN GALLERY

LOOK AT THIS is a weekly series featuring the work of Canadian artists, designers and creators of all sorts.

Name: Carly Waito

Born: Manitouwadge, Ontario in 1981

Lives and works: Toronto

The work: The image you see above is a painting, not a photograph, of a piece of amethyst. Waito's small-scale oil paintings of mineral specimens are stunningly realistic, and require close inspection before you can detect the brushstrokes. She told Strombo.com that she's been collecting beautiful and rare things like gems and crystals since she was a child. "I was seduced by the incredible material qualities of minerals — their transparency, geometry, colour," she said. "I'm fascinated by the way they illustrate the logic, order and magic of the natural world."

How does she do it? Waito says that she starts by collecting the specimens from mineral and gem shows, or online. She then photographs them with a macro lens under carefully controlled lighting conditions, and uses the result as the starting point for her paintings. "Achieving the perfect composition requires careful observation and manipulation of light," she said. "My creative process lately has been more akin to scientific experimentation. I've been spending a lot of time playing with my microscope, and starting to grow crystals from scratch."

Waito's paintings will be on display at Toronto's Narwhal Projects in May.

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