When Miroslava Gojdova is confronted with strong emotions, she paints.

Gojdova is a full-time nurse and mother in Port Alberni. She is also one of 10 artists whose work is included in Summer-Seasonal Imagery, an exhibition at the Rollin Art Gallery through August 26.

“Sometimes my emotional survival mechanisms cause me to disconnect from my own feelings,” Gojdova writes in her artist biography. “The knot of the spirit arises from the unsaid but it flows into the intuition of colors. My hand becomes a tool guided by the recognition of my own emotions.

Originally from Czechoslovakia, Gojdova moved from Vancouver to Port Alberni 13 years ago to take advantage of the housing market. “I love nature here. I love the outdoors, it’s not really guarded, it’s close.”

Gojdova’s work “Spirit Koi” is the first time she painted fish as a subject. “Spirit Koi” is the greatest piece of summer and seasonal imagery. The oil painting depicts a pair of koi fish circling each other, almost in a yin and yang pose. The upper koi is painted in warm red tones and the lower fish in cooler blue tones.

“For me, these fish represent the energy of male and female. Red for me represented the sun, then the moon. It’s a close connection with someone, but it’s not going anywhere,” said she explained, “It’s like a moment of spiritual energy, how you feel connected on a soul level to this person.”

Gojdova said she usually works in oil and sometimes combines an acrylic undercoat under the oil. “I usually cover my acrylic with oil because I like the way oil blends better, where acrylic for me has to work really fast and I’m not very good at it. J like being able to mix more colors rather than “I’m stuck now”.

She deliberately chose rich, deep colors for this piece. “It represents different energies, different (emotions). I think everyone needs a little color in their life. Sometimes it’s just too black and white,” she says. “Feelings, places and shades of color release my inner boundaries by evoking a deep connection with nature in the mind, which becomes creative energy.”

The fish in “Spirit Koi” are flecked with gold, giving the painting a multi-dimensional surface. Adding touches of shine to her work is a signature for Gojdova. “I use it in every painting. It’s gold grains and silver grains. I use them in my art. Not maybe as much (as this piece); maybe just a few spots.

While “Spirit Koi” is a large canvas – about five feet wide by four feet high – Gojdova said she works with canvases of all sizes, from this large to smaller pieces. She likes the deep colors of oils, but also works in more discreet pastels. She has done custom work where a client will show her the room where they want artwork and she will create a custom piece. “I’m flexible that way.”

Gojdova has been painting since the age of 19. She says she is self-taught. “I just went to the art store and picked up some brushes, and went from there.”

She paints when she has free time. “It’s my therapy and my hobby; my time to go somewhere else in my mind. It’s a therapy that I don’t have to pay for. My hand becomes a tool guided by the recognition of my own emotions.

When not creating an image on canvas with paint, Gojdova enjoys taking pictures. “I love taking pictures. It’s another element when you can get close to nature. I love dewdrops, I love cobwebs,” she says.

“We have beautiful nature around us and sometimes we take it for granted.”

Alberni ValleyArts & CultureArts & Entertainmentmuseums-and-galleriesPort Alberni

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