Esmie Gayo McLaren

Narrative Artmaking
Narrative Artmaking

Artist Statement:
My greatest joy in painting is in convincingly conveying emotion or energy on my paper or canvas. Dramatic or soft contrasts, emotive colors, and varied textures are my tools to bring subjects to life. I engage the viewer with what I see and feel about the subject and how it affects me. To do so is to go beyond the technical shapes and lines and lean on intuition, knowledge, senses, and fragments of memory.

My choice of subjects is eclectic. It honors my surroundings and expresses my societal concerns. For strength and rejuvenation, I lean on nature, garden, and the love of friends and family. These have become more central in my work.

Currently, I am stroking a commissioned 5-piece 3x4ft paintings of the Fraser River area for South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. I am enjoying expressing the colours and textures of action and serenity in this memory-filled cradle of life.

Esmie Gayo McLaren is a Filipino-Canadian visual artist based in Vancouver, BC. Using acrylics,oils, or watercolours, McLaren paints scenes of everyday life through an emotive use of color and light. She received her BSc in Biology/Psychology from the University of Alberta and artistic training from Emily Carr University. Highlights of her extensive exhibition experience are milestone achievements in 2018: “Expanding Horizons”, a solo exhibit in New York City, and “Essence”, a small-group exhibit she presented to empower women. The latter was held at Art Space in North Vancouver and at the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa.

In 2019, McLaren completed a duo exhibit with calligraphy watercolorist Celia Leung at Jeunesse Gallery of Fine Arts, and juried exhibits at venues such as Federation Gallery, Roundhouse Exhibition Hall, Kamloops Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, and Kosovo National Museum. She is also an invited artist at Fabriano In Acquarello in Italy.

In 2021, her painting “Playful Blossoms” was selected for the anti-racism poster campaign by North Van Arts and partners. In 2022, she was awarded a Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS) Award for her ongoing work to build bridges with her art. In the same year, she exhibited with 9 other juried artists in Pagtitipon on the theme of what helped them through the pandemic. In January 2024, she was an invited participant in VAHMS Artist Showcase at the Roundhouse.

Besides art and family, McLaren is also passionate about connecting communities, human condition, gardening, nature, and travel.