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Earth Transforms under Alana’s Guidance

painting with earth

Under Alana Hansen’s unique gaze and eye for nature’s bounty, a variety of coloured leaves are transformed into a vibrant salmon. Pieces of driftwood and rocks become an orca on the shoreline. Strands of kelp and carefully placed shells turn into a swimming fish on the sand. She describes how this creative process of creating earth art allows her to enter a meditative state of mind, to feel calm and connected. “It feels like I’m painting with earth, on the earth,” she says.

Alana sees the opportunity for art wherever she goes; from her job as head housekeeper at Nimmo Bay to creating impermanent art installations in the forest. She’s a talented, self-taught artist who enjoys painting with water colours and crafting earth art. Nature has always called to her, from her childhood summers spent on the Southern Gulf Islands, to her more recent years working in Haida Gwaii and in the Great Bear Rainforest. The intersection between nature and art and the sense of adventure and experience is what first drew Alana to seasonal work in remote areas.

Earth Transforms under Alana Hansen's Guidance

An Art of intention and connection

Alana views housekeeping as “an art of intention and connection,” and takes great pride in her work and role as team leader. “I love housekeeping at Nimmo Bay as it allows me to connect to and activate my passions – of creativity, art, nature, adventure, people, and connecting to place,” she says. “It offers me the opportunity to curate intentional, creative and beautiful spaces that leave a lasting impact on each guest that travels to Nimmo Bay.” She cites the community of creative individuals at Nimmo as further inspiration for her work—whether in housekeeping or her fine art.

Alana views housekeeping as “an art of intention and connection,” and takes great pride in her work and role as team leader.

“I love housekeeping at Nimmo Bay as it allows me to connect to and activate my passions – of creativity, art, nature, adventure, people, and connecting to place,” she says. “It offers me the opportunity to curate intentional, creative and beautiful spaces that leave a lasting impact on each guest that travels to Nimmo Bay.”

She cites the community of creative individuals at Nimmo as further inspiration for her work—whether in housekeeping or her fine art. If you are interested in joining Alana’s team at Nimmo Bay (and why wouldn’t you?!), check out the careers page on the website to learn how to apply.

“I’ve always been a dreamer”

Alana was first inspired to try earth art after watching the documentary Rivers and Tides about the artist Andy Goldsworthy whose art and sculptures is created with all natural materials. When growing up she always enjoyed playing on the beach, creating and building with items she could forage. She’s carried that childhood curiosity and imagination forwards and uses materials found in nature to build, sculpt and create incredible works of art. “I’ve always been a dreamer,” she says “and like to express myself in a different way.” Her philosophy when it comes to creating earth art is that she never takes items from nature that aren’t abundant or have already fallen to the ground.

With her earth art, she is always mindful of what she’s taking, how she’s building the installation and how it’s going to stay in the environment. Sometimes this means dismantling her art if she feels that it may be disruptive in any way in the future. However, she says, “most of the time it’s really subtle and naturally falls away with the tides, wind, rain.” When possible, she enjoys re-visiting her earth art at a later time to see what it’s become of it, if anything is left at all.

Connected to Nature

Being outside in the elements is where Alana prefers to paint her water colours as well, which showcase the beauty of the natural world, the animals who call it home and the splendour of the seasons. Her paintings are often a collaboration and reflection of her surroundings and her hope is that these pieces can inspire in others a deep feeling of connection to nature and these landscapes.

Where to find Alana’s art

Going forward, Alana hopes to offer fine art photographic prints of her earth art installations, giving a second life to them for others to enjoy after the art has made its return to nature. You can find Alana’s art in the gift shop at Nimmo Bay and on her website at www.alanahansen.art   She’s also looking forward to offering commissions and workshops in the future.

Words: Cassidy Nunn

Photos: Alex Harris


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