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This Fredericton artist goes against the grain

Heather uses vibrant colours and vivid detail to express the connection she feels to the environment around her.

Penny Heather incorporated natural wood in her Waves of Change artwork.

Two years ago, Penny Heather and her husband loaded their belongings into an '85 Westfalia Vanagon and headed East. After three years spent living in Calgary, they wanted to return to their Maritime roots.

Once they'd arrived in Fredericton, Penny decided to make a go of it as a professional, independent artist. Her most recent work was a stunning painting created for CBC East Coast's Waves of Change art project. The work is inspired by issues surrounding the overuse of single-use plastics.

Penny Heather is an artist in Fredericton, New Brunswick. (Penny Heather)

"Like many others, when I consider the amount of plastic we habitually use in our daily lives and the toll we are putting into our oceans, I feel completely overwhelmed," Penny says. "How can we change when we are using plastic in every part of our lives? Where do we start? Is it too late?"

She painted an image of a whale, deep in the ocean beneath a solar eclipse, onto a 24 x 48" birch wood panel.

Penny explains that the solar eclipse represents the wave of change needed to address environmental concerns. "The light of the shifting eclipse is the moment that we as a society and as individuals decide to change, to take on this monumental task to better ourselves for our home."

A closer look at the eclipse featured in the artwork. (Penny Heather)

Check out the Waves of Change art project here.

Penny says the different shades of green in the painting represent "the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy. Green is also associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment so fitting to this story."

It's a story close to Penny's heart, as an artist with a deep connection to her surroundings. She uses vibrant colours and vivid detail to express the energetic connection she feels to the environment around her.

Penny graduated with a bachelor's degree in Fine Art from Bishop's University in 2014, and works in a variety of mediums. But, she "consistently favours incorporating the natural elements of wood and its grain."

See more of Penny's Waves of Change artwork on the CBC East Coast Instagram page.