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Halfmoon Happenings: Spotlight on…Start with Art

I confided in Zaan, a multi-faceted artist living in Halfmoon Bay, that her paintings have influenced the way I look at water. Before “discovering” her art, I saw water as one solid entity.

I confided in Zaan, a multi-faceted artist living in Halfmoon Bay, that her paintings have influenced the way I look at water. Before “discovering” her art, I saw water as one solid entity. But when you look at it through the eyes of Zaan Claassens, you will perceive a multitude of colours and textures. There is something so very magical when you actually take a moment to witness the complex beauty of the natural world. 

Zaan moved to Canada from South Africa in 1991. “I’m a bit of an adventurer,” she told me, having lived in Zimbabwe, the U.S., Northern Alberta, Saipan, Ontario and South Africa. In 2019, Zaan and her partner made Halfmoon Bay their home. They live on a corner lot surrounded by large trees, beautiful gardens, and a white picket fence. Nestled in the back corner is her art studio, a light-filled space perfect for creating. Her paintings line the walls, and the shelves hold her bronze sculptures. While her paintings are colourful and fluid, her sculptures are solid and primal. Zaan is an Art Crawl regular, humble about her talent, and grateful that people find joy in and a connection with her creations. 

“Why water?” I asked her. “I love to swim, to look into the water, and translate what I see into my paintings. Art is healing to me; it’s my saviour; it’s what helps me function in the world.” In our fast-paced and sometimes damaged lives, art creation can be profoundly therapeutic, especially when inspired by nature. Nature has long been a muse for artists, with its vibrant colours and intricate patterns. 

Recently, Zaan invited individuals globally to complete her online survey “Start With Art.” It is an exploration of barriers that prevent people from exploring their own creativity. “I want to motivate people to be creative, to enable them to experience its healing power as I have.” Like practicing meditation, individuals can find solace, self-discovery, and growth through painting. Her survey has received responses from creatives living in South Africa, the U.K., Ontario, New York and Barbados, as well as the Sunshine Coast. Zaan will select one person to receive a one-hour one-on-one Zoom session with her “tailored to your creative aspirations, a perfect start to your creative journey.” 

“What’s next?” I asked her. Zaan hopes to develop her offering beyond this one-on-one session. Whether you’re a budding artist or someone looking to rediscover your creative spark, she wants to hear from you. Your unique perspectives are incredibly important for developing sessions that connect and inspire future students. Join her on this creative journey of transformation, one brushstroke at a time. 

You can complete the survey at docs.google.com/forms/d/1e8kkhSuTq3LFOn0mlzkgveOFgIzLQRz4a2iEfHLQz8s/viewform. You can connect with Zaan via website at www.zaan.art or email her at zaanc@icloud.com. 

If you have a community event or story you would like to share, please send an email to me at mcmahonlinda8138@gmail.com.