JingLu moved to Canada in 2013 with her family and since focused on caring for her three children. Then the pandemic hit, and like many other people and creatives, she found herself stir-crazy. So, she picked up a paintbrush and put the two MFAs she had earned to work. A Chinese native, JingLu felt a special connection in the Saskatoon landscape that reminded her of her homeland. From photos of breathtaking landscapes to oil paintings on canvases, the love of art pulled her back in, and she began pursuing her art full-time in 2021.

In the 2023 round of submissions, three of JingLu's works were accepted for purchase into the Permanent Collection. The artworks are Just Breathe, 2023, The Year of the Rabbit, 2023 and Ray of Light Boffin Gardens, 2023. Of the three works purchased, the artist fingered Ray of Light Boffin Gardens as her favourite. Zhao says the view that inspired the painting reminded her of an intersection between her life in China and her new life in Saskatoon.

Ray_of_Light_Boffin_Gardens_JingLu_Zhao_2023. JingLu Zhao-Saskatoon Artist painting artwork of of garden with a gazebo and water.

Ray of Light Boffin Gardens, JingLu Zhao, 2023

Infused with passion and a strong internal connection to her artwork, JingLu's inspiration is fuelled by more than just landscapes. Her work often includes portraits, which often feature her children. Just Breathe is one such work of her daughter. Her work with painting tends to be larger; however, her drawings are on smaller canvases.

JingLu was among 75 artists nominated for celebration in SK Arts' 75th-anniversary campaign in 2023. She was nominated by established visual artist Iris Hauser. Hauser describes Zhao's work as offering a new perspective on Saskatchewan's prairie landscape.

When asked about the most memorable reaction she has ever had to her work, Jinglu identifies two.

"Once, I created a commission painting for (a) customer. They wanted their family homestay barn painted on a large canvas. I spent many hours on each shake of the roof, so they each reflected in a unique way," said Zhao. " When they saw the painting, they were moved to tears and brought back to the memory of building that roof, which was a lot of hard work. That was a very emotional experience I'll never forget."

The second is about the fact that at only 5 feet tall, people are often surprised at the size of her work, coming from such a small person.


Learn more about JingLu Zhao at: https://www.zhaojinglu.com/