Arbor Gallery’s new exhibit features local artists Evelyn Aung-Thwin, of Grenville, and Kim Fournier, of Vankleek Hill.

The board of Arbor Gallery was interested in a show featuring local artists, said curator Niki Mulder, and Aung-Thwin and Fournier “harmonized” well with each other. The show is called “Emerge” in part because it’s pulling the artists out of their usual spaces. The idea is to have an annual show featuring local artwork.

Aung-Thwin retired in 1997 and studied with Pauline Brosso and, later, with Jessica Sarazzin at Arbor gallery. Based in Grenville, she says she’s always been a great lover of nature.

“This has been an amazing experience,” says Aung-Thwin, who says while it’s out of her comfort zone, having a gallery show coming up has inspired her to really focus on her work. Trees are a major source of inspiration for her, as well as the landscape near where she lives, by water. She says she sometimes paints from photographs and sometimes with her easel outside. She worked with special needs students and with primary school students during her career, and found inspiration in the art the children produced: “I was always amazed by their instinctive knowledge of simplicity, design, focus, mystery, and richness or colour,” she wrote in a biography for the gallery. “I loved their freshness and have often aspired to imitate that innocence in my own work.”

Kim Fournier, of Pleasant Corners near Vankleek Hill, has also been focussing more on her art since retiring, in 2012. Like Aung-Thwin, she’s inspired by nature around her home – she’s a cyclist and cross-country skier.

While Fournier favours watercolours – she likes to challenge herself for the patience and precision required – she has also been experimenting with acrylics and collage, creating more abstract pieces. She hopes her brightly coloured abstract paintings will influence her watercolour paintings, for a looser, more relaxed look. You can see work in a variety of styles from her at the gallery – she says she’s still focussing on experimenting and developing her own style.

You can meet Fournier and Aung-Thwin at Arbor Gallery on Sunday, July 3, between 1 and 3 p.m. The exhibit “Emerge!” will be at the gallery until September.