On a bright Saturday afternoon, sun streams through the window onto the large canvas propped on an easel. While conventionality suggests one might find a beret-wearing, palette-holding artist working here, this day finds Yapes Paints’ April Lacheur sprawled on the paint-splattered floor, doing ink work on a long wood “canvas.” As her relaxed approach indicates, Lacheur—like her art—is anything but conventional.
Best known for her whimsical and unique tree paintings, Lacheur leans over her latest piece—which features cherry blossom trees amid a colourful cityscape—adding touches with her skillful hand. “I love painting trees because their shape and branches are free,” she says. “I can paint them freely, and they turn out the way I want.”
The self-taught Lacheur first took her artistic pursuits seriously in 2007, the year she established Yapes Paints. Her signature piece, Life Roots—a three-foot by four-foot piece painted that same year—hangs in Moksana Yoga Studio in Victoria, where she lived for seven years before settling in White Rock in 2010. “I love that the painting that means so much to me is in a good space,” says Lacheur. “It symbolizes when I truly decided to become an artist.”
Long before she sold her first work, Lacheur painted countless pieces for enjoyment—and to give as gifts. “I was always good at art, so it’s been a long process,” she says. “But I still consider myself an artist who is learning and developing.”
That means she’s always exploring new mediums, like her current collaboration with her boyfriend, who makes jewelry as a hobby: four pieces featuring reclaimed metal. “He was working on some leaf-shaped earrings, and held up a metal leaf next to the tree,” she says. “I loved it.”
When she’s not painting, Lacheur works as a registered nurse; studio time provides a creative outlet to offset what can be a stressful job. “I really value that,” she says. “It’s challenging to balance time, and sometimes I struggle to get into the studio and paint, but I’m taking my artistic pursuits seriously.”
Less serious is the choice of her unusual business name, which sprang from the childhood nickname bestowed on her by her brother. “Ape” soon became “Apes” and in university, the moniker morphed to “Yapes” and stuck. “Yapes Paints expresses what I do,” she says.
In addition to her original art, Lacheur also makes cards and prints that fit every budget—and wall space. “Painting for me is a positive experience,” she says. “People appreciate something that is bright and happy and positive.”
Currently, 16 of Lacheur’s paintings are on display at Lüt Boutique on Main Street in Vancouver until April 30. This summer, Lacheur plans to take part in White Rock’s Arnold Mikelson Festival of the Arts. “I love selling my work personally. My paintings are like my babies,” she says. “I’m glad when they go to a good home.