Many artists know from an early age that they want to paint, but Ashcroft Art Club member Marilyn Anderson had never tried to paint, and had no inkling that she had a talent for painting, until November 2015.
“I was a writer,” she says. “My heart was in that. I’m kind of an accidental artist.”
She and her husband moved to 16 Mile in 2011, and in the fall of 2015 they had just moved to Cache Creek when her husband died. She wanted a pastime for the winter, and someone she knew who was a painter was moving away. “He said ‘Come to my garage sale,’ and he was selling his easels, canvases, books, and paints, so I bought everything for $180 and began painting over the winter.
“I wanted something I could on my own; it wasn’t a case of ‘I really want to paint!’”
The first painting she did was of her three grandchildren, and she realized she had a knack for it. “It was a talent I never knew I had.” She had been self-taught until then, but began taking lessons from a painter in Kamloops.
Not only did Anderson realize she had a talent; she says she was crazy about painting almost as soon as she started. “I loved it. It unwinds me, and gives me a real sense of peace.”
She tried different subjects, including flowers, landscapes, wildlife, pets, Christian paintings, and even abstracts. After trying different techniques, she found that she loved doing pet portraits and landscapes the most, and over the last year she has switched from acrylics to oil.
“Acrylics are more forgiving. Oil is a lot trickier, but I feel that oil paints are far more vibrant. That’s what I’m after: vibrant colours.” She takes reference photos for her landscapes, then brings the pictures back home so she can paint what she saw. However, she notes that she enjoys painting more than just the scenery. “I like to put a wagon wheel or a fence in it, with the landscape in behind, for a 3-D feel.”
Although she didn’t want to stop painting once she started, work got in the way. “I haven’t been able to paint full-time over the past year, and some works are unfinished.” However, at the beginning of March she retired from her position as facility manager at the WorkBC office in Ashcroft. “That will free up more time for painting, when we’re settled in our new home in Ashcroft.”
Anderson hopes to enter 10 paintings at the Art Club’s annual Art Show in April. “Some of the paintings will be for sale, and I’ve sold a few already.”
Anderson says she’s still learning as she goes along. “I still have lots to learn. I know what I like to paint, and what I’m not so crazy about. I intend to do more; I just haven’t had the time until now.”
Starting on Saturday, April 6, Anderson will be holding a Creation Series Paint-out at the Crossroads Pentecostal Church on Stage Road in Cache Creek. The workshops are based on Psalm 27:1 (“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”), and over the course of of the series participants will create four paintings—on the themes of Light, Strength, Path, and Life—during a spiritual discussion of each element. Each session runs from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., with Light set for April 6 and 13; Strength on April 27 and May 4; Path on May 11 and 18; and Life on May 25 and June 1. There is no fee other than a donation to cover the cost of acrylic paint.
“One of the teaching paintings—‘Light’—is already done,” says Anderson. “But the participants don’t have to copy it. They can change elements if they want to.”
Anderson says she is really looking forward to getting back to painting, adding that she has a little thing that she found at a garage sale, that reads “Never forget why you’ve started” and which hangs in her studio.
“I put it there to remind me. I started painting for the pure joy of it. If you’re painting to learn new techniques, don’t forget that. If you’re painting for pleasure, make sure it’s pleasurable.”
The Ashcroft Art Show takes place from April 26 to 29 at St. Alban’s Church Hall in Ashcroft, and all are welcome. There is no charge for admission.