MY RETURN TO ART AFTER 26 YEARS
I graduated from the University of Guelph with a Fine Art Major in 1980. However as the next 26 years passed, I'd slowly and totally forgotten that I possessed the ability to paint; I’m sure this was due to my battle with MS. As a matter of fact, with the way my brain was working at the time, I had no clue that I would ever make art again!
This is an oil pastel that I drew in 1980, from a photo of me at the University of Guelph when I was a little girl (someone knew I would be attending there one day in the future).
But thankfully, an improvement in my health began around 2006 as I took some drastic changes. In 2007, unexpectedly my CREATIVE THINKING RETURNED to me and I began – with trepidation – to make art once again.
In 2008, traveling to China with my husband became almost a kick-start-art-creating event for me. Although the trip was an arduous journey, with airport delays, lost luggage, and endless climbings of steps, I was able to take thousands of photos with my digital camera; and voila! I had subject matter to paint for decades. (See some of my china paintings on this website. My trip blog is at, chinainjune.blogspot.ca.)
As time passed, painting realistically from my own photographs became my comfort zone, but I was never one to stay in a comfort zone. I loved making sculpture in university – but my home was no place for a sculpture studio! So I tried different methods of creating a bas-relief type of effect on my canvasses until I fell upon using my old jewellery for texture. Pairs of earrings are notorious for becoming loner earrings, so that’s what I started with.
This process of using jewellery (and other items) to create textures has become my favourite type of art making because it makes use of my full creative juices – there’s no beginning point other than my thoughts and the elements in front of me.
I’d had become a very withdrawn person (I’m blaming that on the MS) and it was not until many years later that I began showing these textured “upcycled paintings” to some of my online artist friends and then in some smaller group shows - people loved them!
So this has become my medium of choice, and I call it, “Upcycling in Painting”. Most of my current work is abstract, but some realism creeps in once in a while, as you can see on the jellyfish painting above.
One of my life's discoveries is: If you're an artist inside, it will eventually come out of you - no matter what struggles you go through, no matter who discourages you, no matter where you happen to be, no matter how long it takes.
AWARDS and SHOWS:
1980 Heinz Jordan Scholarship for art, from the University of Guelph
2009 Pauling Manning Award for “Chinese Tricycle” at the Contemporary Art Society’s Juried Show at the Public Archives downtown Halifax, NS
2009 Honourable Mention for a mixed media piece “Three Boats”.
2010 The Mayor’s Award (at the Contemporary Art Society’s Juried Show at the Public Archives (downtown Halifax, NS) for “Tricycle with Bamboo” (a full-sized print of that painting now resides in the Mayor’s office).
2013 Group show at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum (2 abstracts)
2014 Group show at the DART Gallery, Dartmouth (1 abstract)
2016 Parkland at the Lakes month-long group display (10 art pieces - 6 abstracts and 4 oil pastels)
2016 People’s Choice Award for “Lewis Head Beach” with the Dartmouth Visual Art Society
2009 - 2012 Showed and served with the Contemporary Art Society, Halifax, NS
2012 - present Showing and serving with Dartmouth Visual Art Society (2-4 shows per year)
2015 - present Lady Luck Boutique sells my greeting cards
2017 - present being represented by Visual Voice Fine Art in Truro, Nova Scotia
2018 - May, first dual solo show at Visual Voice Fine Art in Truro Nova Scotia
WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID:
"I just came from a full visit to your blogpost of March 21, "Why make mixed-media art, you ask?" That blogpost has BEAU-TI-FUL visuals, and very well turned text! Loved reading it; if you composed it yourself, you're a natural at writing. I also checked out some of your earlier blogposts - your portraits are perfect and showing a very pleasant personal style, just as your different style for your flowers - just wow on everything. Did I mention your upcycled art?! Definitely requires another mention - It's awesome. All the pieces on that blogpost. You obviously have strong esthetic knowledge and ability. You've got a very solid body of artwork." Rachelle Valéri
"You are a creative soul!!!"
"Your development as an artist is amazing. I love seeing the process and the challenges along the way."
"Went through your studio visit (art blog) and I like not only the art but especially the names of your creations!!! Creativity with words!! Made me smile!!"
"I love this painting, Northumberland Strait Evening. I can just about smell the salt air when I look at it!"
"You have some very beautiful artwork here. Thanks for sharing."