The Puzzle Nerds recently had the opportunity to connect with Canadian painter and Pomegranate puzzle artist Darlene Kulig. Darlene reached out to us via Instagram when she realized that we were practically neighbours. She graciously invited us to her studio to meet in person and to give us an inside peek into the world of a working artist. She did, in fact, live only a few minutes away! Darlene introduced us to a few of her works that she had on site as well as to her current project. She explained her process from conception through to finished piece and gave us a bit of background on the stories behind the paintings chosen by Pomegranate that eventually became puzzles.
Darlene's paintings are bold and joyous, whimsical and eye-catching. Her work is semi abstracted spirited landscape and each painting is dotted with her signature effervescent champagne bubbles. Darlene's work focuses on landmarks and landscapes from around the world but have a uniquely Canadian feel. The works featuring her home country are reminiscent of a time spent at a lakeside cottage, a hike through a national park and a family summer vacation. They are geometric and abstract but unmistakeable as the Canadian landscape. Darlene's art is a wonderful choice for puzzle images and Pomegranate has released 5 to date with more likely to come.
We meet Darlene
A bit about Darlene …
Darlene Kulig graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design and quickly established herself in the commercial world of art. Four years after graduating, she was running her own successful design studio.
Darlene began painting full time ten years ago. Her work utilizes synthesis or stylization - an approach that came into Eurocentric art from Japan in the mid 1800s. Many of Canada’s great landscape painters (Lawren Harris being an obvious example) work in this style. Her love of the natural beauty found in the Canadian landscape is clear. What is especially impressive is that she has developed a unique and very personal approach that "feels" Canadian.
Darlene's work has been featured in Canadian magazines. Global Affairs Canada installed a selection of her Canadian Landscapes in Canadian embassy buildings in North America, Europe, the Middle East and South America. The renowned Mayo Clinic features Darlene’s work in the Rochester Clinic. Pomegranate Communications has licensed Darlene’s work to be reproduced as contemporary Canadian content in their line of note cards, stationery and puzzles.
The award winning Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury train journey through the mountains of western Canada, commissioned Darlene to ride and paint the Rocky Mountains for a Canadian Rockies series. Darlene has recently been the featured artist in the AGO Art Rental and Sales Holiday guide. You can find her work in galleries across Canada and the United States as well as in private collections around the world.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Darlene has created a series of face masks in support of The Craig Kulig Memorial Fund, raising money for cancer research.
A bit about Darlene's mask project…
Darlene Kulig started raising funds in support of cancer research after the loss of her nephew, Craig, to cancer. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Darlene has partnered with BYOM, an independent family startup company in Toronto, to make high quality face masks featuring her art. The proceeds are donated to The Craig Kulig Memorial Fund in support of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.
The masks are made of a high quality, 3 layer fabric with middle and inside layers of woven polypropylene and the outer layer is polyester. Designed with protection and comfort in mind and for breathability, they feature adjustable ear loops and nose wires, making for a better fit. They are professionally sewn with ribbing around the mask to maintain shape and are machine washable. Quality and protection is provided with each BYOM mask.
Darlene's Dragonfly mask is especially symbolic to Craig’s legacy. Shortly after Craig’s passing, Darlene asked her brother Bruce, Craig's dad, to take her on an ATV ride following trails that her nephew loved so much. Taking many pictures along the way, Darlene created a painting that combined the scenes from the trails along with a dragonfly in the forefront, a symbol of metamorphosis and transformation. The Dragonfly painting, and now the mask, beautifully symbolize the spirit of Craig which continues to live on.
We feature Darlene's masks in our store as a companion piece to her puzzles. They make a lovely gift set or a special treat for yourself. $10.00 from the sale of each mask is donated to The Craig Kulig Memorial Fund.
Darlene's masks are frequently worn by Christine Elliott, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Lisa MacLeod, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
$10.00 from the sale of each mask is donated to The Craig Kulig Memorial Fund.
Darlene Kulig Puzzle & Mask Set
Puzzle signed by the artist + companion face mask