I had started using oil paints as a teenager, but quickly switched to acrylics as soon as they became readily available. Oil paint and the mediums for thinning-usually turpentine at that time-gave me a headache. In my later years, when I had a bit more time on my hands, I simply drew using pencils-all black and white. The subjects were mostly animals such as sheep, llamas, dogs and goats as we lived on a farm in Alberta with a varied selection of these animals. At that time, I didn't sell my drawings, but gave them away to friends and acquaintances.
After we moved to Ontario at our present location-a seventy-five acre property - I decided to educate myself more about art, and watercolors in particular. As the saying goes, "you don't know how much you don't know" until you start to learn more. I took what I thought was a beginner class in watercolor painting with Marilyn Coulter through Loyalist College. It turned out to be an intermediate to advanced class, but I never let on that I had never done watercolors in my life before, and I managed to keep up somehow. Other local artists who took Marilyn's classes are Dona Bonin, Rita Brookes, Ethel Bewes and Kathryn Fellowes. Marilyn Coulter herself was famous for her fresh and colourful impressionistic style of painting., and I have tried to keep this style going in my own paintings.
Due to an accidental meeting with Roslin artist, Roberta Fisk, now deceased, I was encouraged to join a local group, the Roslin Art Group, which is still in operation, originally held in the Plainfield community hall. Although I had protested that I only did black and white drawings or watercolours, Roberta, being quite a forceful personality, insisted that I do acrylic or oil painting like the rest of the group. The sessions were once a week and were quite social occasions as we always stopped half way through for a chat with tea and assorted goodies. There was, and still is, an annual art show of member's work. A year or two later, I joined the Belleville Art Association where I performed just about every job on the executive, including becoming president for a while. I helped establish the BAA gallery on Front Street in Belleville which gave members a chance to show their work in a display that changed every month.
I met the Prince Edward county fibre artist, Marion Casson at the Belleville Art Association and she invited me to join her felting classes. As I had lots of llama and sheep fibre on hand, I thought this would be a great idea. I had previously done some natural dying and spinning while we still lived in Alberta, and had also attended a workshop in needle felting. Needle felting at that time was generally only used to decorate a vest or hat with some small flowers or a simply template pattern. I decided to combine the wet felting technique that Marion had taught me with needle felting, to add to a more complicated "painting" of a still life or a landscape. The finished art work was then framed under glass with a mat. Some people do not like framing felt, but I think that it is more practical and keeps cleaner that way, plus it is easier to hang on a wall. Quinn's gallery in Tweed had some of my work.
For several years, I participated in the Tweed and area Studio Tour and Tweed Art in the Park, as well as various juried art shows. I have won several awards for my fibre art and acrylics. It should be noted that Hastings County has a huge number of talented artists- more than in most other places in Canada- and so the competition is intense. The scenery in this county is also inspiring for artists, especially "plein air -outdoor- artists" due to beautiful rolling hills, big maple trees which are wonderful in the fall, and lots of winding rivers with plenty of waterfalls and white water. All I have to do for inspiration is to look out of almost any window in my Victorian farm house. I can paint the same scene summer or winter, fall or spring and even at different time of day, it will become an entirely different painting.