A Time to Create #3

A Time to Create #3

I love getting emails from artists in the Shuswap area, telling me about their adventures of trying to create art when things just are not the same routines any longer.  I recently received a photo of a beautiful art piece done by Janet Aitken during the pandemic timeframe.  Her story around trying to finish the painting amongst other activities was quite amusing and made me realize how our regular habits quickly reform to new ones, and we often have to figure out how to get things done even when we “think” we have more time.

Her email went like this:  “I have been painting a wee bit every day.  It seems the time evaporates when one makes time for exercise each day, lots of talking on the phone and ‘zooming’.  My biggest mistake was starting a sourdough starter. It is more time consuming and takes more care than your first born! I did finally get to make my first loaves of sourdough rye bread today… another marathon production with folding and stretching every 30 minutes. Paint for 30 minutes- stretch and fold dough for 10 – paint for 30 minutes… oh.. oh… time for lunch. And so it goes. I did manage to complete one painting last week.  By the way, the bread was pretty wonderful after all that. ”
“This painting was inspired by the view off our deck in Salmon Arm.  It will soon be green like this.  It is 24 by 36 Acrylic.  I painted it last week. ”

Beautiful work Janet!

Another email I received from my friend Jo Mills, in which she did a little project called “The Biography of a Painting”.  Here are her notes:

Creativity while staying home:

Not much creativity going on while making beds, doing laundry, but maybe some with planning meals. So, I huddle in my little craft/office room and try to make something new or work on a project painting.

I call this project “BIOGRAPHY OF A PAINTING”.

Blind Bay Painters are working on a group project focusing on lakes and streams

 My reference photo:     


 Now how to figure out how to use it. I sketched it out on paper so the composition suited me knowing that with acrylics I could paint over the mistakes.

step 1 sketch

I got out my watercolours and did a quick colour sketch.  I liked it, so thought I would do a non-realistic version of the reference photo.

Step 2 block in colour

I started with the trees at the top and blocked in colours

Step 3

Step 4 add details

Soon realized that I liked the realistic look of them. There went my vision of the ‘Group of Seven’ style.  Next I worked on the little land part and the rocks. Oh those rocks! I walk the beach every year at Magna Bay so I have seen lots of rocks. Over and over I dabbed those [da??ed] rocks. The foliage was the easy part. Then for the water and the salmon.  That took a few days and a few different tries.

Step 4b

Step 5 Step away and adjust

Up close, I still am not satisfied. From a distance it looks okay. But as this was just a trial, and this size does not fit the frame, I have to move on to the REAL painting.

Great biography Jo and it’s great to see the work in progress as a painting is developed!

If you live in the Shuswap area and would like to share your story about your painting processes during the COVID 19 time, feel free to email artintheshuswap.com with a pic and a bit about your art!  We would love to hear about it!






A Time to Create #2

A Time to Create #2

I hope everyone is using what techniques they have in their toolboxes to keep active, keep your mind strong, and stay resilient to the need for social distancing right now.  Part of what helps is staying connected and sharing whatever way you can.     This blog serves to share the stories behind some of the means and works that artists often use to help in this quest.

Melody Roth, the programs coordinator for the Blind Bay Painters group,

tried to figure out ways for the artists to continue learning during this time when they were no longer able to meet.  She recently sent the painters a few YouTube videos that shared how to paint animals in bright colours.  Using online sources to help teach new techniques of any craft is a wonderful way to keep your mind focused on positive with the added bonus of learning!  She herself used the videos to help her create these beautiful paintings!  You can view one of the videos at https://youtu.be/PXQWZwo24nw

Patricia Smith just recently joined the Blind Bay Painters group just prior to the self isolation occurred, so she is anxiously waiting to be able to meet with the group to paint with them again soon!  She is just finishing up courses at Thompson River University for the semester.  This is a piece of art she just completed for her Drawings & Painting class that was done during the lock down.  She’s loving seeing what everyone else is doing during this time!

Reflections and Tranpanency In Isolation resized


Vi Isaac indicated “Looking for a project that would help brighten my spirits during this troubling time, I chose to paint a scene similar to a calendar

page from a previous year. I had it taped to the freezer in my studio for many months, and every time I looked at it, I thought, “I want to paint that”. This pandemic provided the motivation to finally do it. “Sunrise” is a 16″ square oil on canvas that now adds a splash of color to my Livingroom.

Vi Isaac Sunrise

She’s also added a little fun spring art to some T-Shirts:
Vi Isaac 2
Judy McKenzie, has been busy working on completing yet another painting!   She says –  “Here is my newest painting.  It’s done in acrylics, 24 x 18, unframed, available for sale -$950.  It’s called “The Colours of Nature”
Judy McKenzie
We will continue to post Art that is being created in the Shuswap while everyone is self isolating and social distancing.  If you are interested in sharing your art, email us at artintheshuswap@gmail.com.
A Time To Create

A Time To Create

The arts have always been a great means to bring people together.  It provides opportunities to focus if that is the objective, or to communicate ones feelings. Whether it be through music, or dance; drawing or painting, in difficult times, it is there  to support us, remind us of the beauty in world, and enable us to express ourselves in creative ways.  Art is like an old friend you can tell anything to.

I receive a newsletter from the BC Guide to Arts and Culture, where they wrote some words I found inspiring.  I’ve posted them below.     https://www.art-bc.com

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging society in new and revealing ways. Never before have we been so connected and interdependent, and yet so separated at the same time. Despite this challenge to humanity, the Arts can play a crucial role in helping us understand and persevere through these trying times.

Throughout time, art has always played an interesting role to interpret history and navigate rough waters. Whether in subversion, the abstract or idealization, our craft offers new insight. Not only can the Arts provide a tableau with which to make sense of troubling times but crucially, art can also help us imagine a new, healthier world. Here, our community can be an island oasis from uncertainty, to provide refuge for each other in this time of need.

As communities continue social distancing, our digital world provides wonderful ways to stay connected, communicative and creative. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Arts are truly crucial in helping us sail these uncharted waters while also remaining whole; of caring for and supporting each other in these strange days, even virtually.

Adversity has always been fertile ground for the Arts. When times seem dark, let us be the light in which these seeds can flourish.”

So in the spirit of creating and sharing, helping and observing, and being the light – here is the first collection of art that was completed over this tumultuous time; during our time of isolation but also togetherness.

Wildlife Art on Driftwood
Joey Nash – House Sparrow

Joey Nash – “I have just finished “House Sparrow” and made a bit of Self-Discovery in the process.  I have been “rootless” most of my adult life so, “Home” has become very important to me.  Our home, here in Chase, is our paradise which we share with a lot of birds.  Most of those are a colony of House Sparrows who live here year round, rearing ever more babies & chirping their heads off as they bicker with neighbours, bathe in the pond and flit from vine to tree to birdhouses.

The day we moved here, my partner came from the last day of his last job, with a little tree that he had rescued from the camp, where he had been staying.  It truly was a rescue, as the camp was about to expand.  Anyway, we gave the little tree pride of place, in the centre of our front yard and called the little tree Kimberley.

I tell you all this because, when I photographed the candles for the pine boughs in this Driftwood Painting, I realized how important Kimberley was to my definition of “Home”.  Every Spring we watch and celebrate, as her new candles signal how vigorous her growth will be, this year.

For me, this painting means that things will be fine, the Seasons will unfold, baby birds will continue to hatch and Kimberley will continue to thrive in her dog bone shaped garden.

Landscape art
Judy Mackenzie -Along the Creek, 24 x 36″, unframed acrylic, $1350.

Judy Mackenzie paints with the Blind Bay Painters and has her own studio in Chase, B.C.  She began working on this piece, “Along the Creek”, during our last paint day before the regular Tuesday paint day came to a pause amidst the COVID-19 Virus pandemic and recently completed it.   Bringing your mind to a peaceful place is a great thing amidst the chaotic daily news.  Judy says “My brother-in-law took the photo down in Sardis, and sent it to me.  He does a lot of walking along this path at the side of the creek.  I liked the dark green water and foliage, with the punch of the bright aspens in the center.”

Jackie Wambolt also paints with the Blind Bay Painters.  Her and her daughter have been spending some time painting together during this time.  They are working on techniques together and spending time learning.  Jackie says, “The inspiration for these paintings are from some of my daughter’s photos.  At the same time, she is teaching me how to operate my new tablet which is quite foreign to me!  We are taking picture around the area, so I will have some future references, from my home area.”

Karen Trach, is a local artist (Blind Bay) that uses colour pencils to portray pets.

Pet Portraits
Karen Trach pet portrait, commissioned

She does commission work and her work is quickly getting noticed by many of the pet owners in the community, who are signing up to get their pet portrait!

Karen’s drawings often bring inspiration for others.  People ask for the sake of memories and some just love to have their pets close by for comfort, and artwork enables all those things to happen.





Diana Waller, a past long time resident of Blind Bay still stays connected to her friends and old neighbourhood through electronic means.  Facebook, email, live videoing, are all ways to share and connect with people you love.  We are often taking the time now that we are home to do that.  Diana sent in a few of the many project pieces she has been working on from her now residence in Calgary.   We miss seeing all her creative ideas and her openness on teaching whatever she learns.  Here is a collection of some of her mosaic tile and other glass recent works.

Keep creating, everyone!  And share your work.  We will be publishing an blog regularly during the COVID19 times to help give us all some inspiration.  If you live in the Shuswap area and want to show your 2D artworks on this page, just send your work into artintheshuswap@gmail.com.