I grew up on a farm outside of Fort Frances in a house full of books. Some of the books were about art, and I loved to go through them, marveling at the images that were so powerful.
I drew and painted all the time as a child – we had at home every art supply we could dream of. Oil, watercolour, even acrylic paints (new at the time) were available and I used them freely. So even though I was isolated physically from art galleries my parents had supplied me with three important ideas.
1. art supplies which now as a parent I realize were quite expensive
2. visual space that surrounds us on a farm. Sky, land, trees
3. glimpses of great art
The idea of me becoming an artist seemed impossible though, even though I was talented in my drawing and painting. I never really thought such a wonderful mythical way of seeing could be available to me. I put artists and everything about them on pedestals, and went through school, then teacher’s college and kept my art as a hobby.
Early in our marriage my husband and I bicycled for nearly a year and a half through Western Europe and we visited all the major galleries. Seeing the paintings I had grown up with in art books was both magical and disappointing. Yes, they were wonderful, but they were stuffed into art galleries alongside other equally great works that didn’t make it into those art books, and equally as many that were only mediocre. I looked at these paintings and the people who made them didn’t seem so far off any more – so mythical. I knew I could do this.