With his graphite pencils, artist Dale Redfern captures the essence of the region's old, abandoned buildings in stark black and white.
More often than not the feeling is a deep sadness left behind by the structure's previous inhabitants. He said it's not unusual for the grief to stay within the four walls and fester with time.
Redfern, 69, first tapped into the ability while on a hunting trip with his brother-in-law near Prince George years ago.
During the hunt, the men stumbled upon on old barn. When Hoyt opened the door, a flood of escaping emotions struck him.
"I did not go in that building," said Redfern, adding the emotions were negative. "I left immediately, but I never forgot it."
But his ability never did, and that's something Redfern is thankful for, he said.
Now an accomplished graphite artist and member of the Kamloops Arts Council and Federation of Canadian Artists, his sketches have appeared in more than a dozen shows including an exhibition at the Federation Gallery in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics.
Redfern is about to embark on his first solo exhibit, with samples of his work on display at the Kamloops Courthouse Gallery at 7 West Seymour Street.
The exhibit runs for four weeks starting on Thursday, Sept. 27, with a grand opening celebration on Sept. 28.
Visitors can expect to see renditions of old buildings in and around Kamloops. Redfern's pride and joy is a sketch of the Old Courthouse where his work will be on display.
He's lovingly sketched The Brownstone restaurant at First Avenue and Victoria Street and a former community centre in Black Pines north of Westsyde.
The Brownstone has had a storied history, he said, adding it's also been a bank.
When possible, Redfern will sit and sketch at the location. If not, he takes a picture with his digital camera and brings the photograph home to draw. But no matter the locale, his heart is in his art, he said.
"This is my love and passion now," said Redfern, adding there are countless old buildings in the region he'd enjoy drawing.
Ever since he first picked up a pencil at the age of 14, Redfern's art has been a method of escape. He grew up in a dysfunctional home in Vancouver and drawing gave him an outlet to deal with the trauma.
"My artwork helped me to pull a lot of that rage out," he said.
Redfern's creativity led him into the sign-painting business in Prince George, where he found inspiration from fellow sign painters. In his free time, he sketched nudes.
It wasn't until he relocated to Kamloops in 1991 that he pursued his art professionally. But it took constant hounding from his wife and the encouragement of another black-and-white artist, Steve Carter, at the Artists' Studio and Gallery in Sahali Mall, to push him into his current career.
When Redfern showed Carter his work, the man asked him why he was wasting his time with other pursuits.
"What are you doing, you fool?" he asked Redfern. "You're an artist."