Barbra McClusky is displaying her art solo for the first time this month in the South Cariboo Business Centre’s Showcase Gallery.
A retired teacher, McClusky began pursuing painting five years ago after purchasing some paints during her last year of school. She then set about learning how to paint and was surprised to find she had a talent for it. She has spent the last few years learning new skills and honing her craft.
When asked why she wanted to take up painting, McClusky provided a humorous anecdote.
“For years my husband and I had this big blank wall in our living room, and we couldn’t agree on the artwork for it. So I threatened that I’d do something myself if we didn’t agree, so when I retired I decided that’s what I was going to do and I went from there,” McClusky said.
McClusky began painting with acrylics and then began trying watercolours before transitioning, for fun, to a mixed medium style of mixing acrylic paint with other things and pouring them on the canvas. She’s enjoying the process of experimenting with this painting technique and has really liked how some of her pieces have turned out, including a set on display depicting the four elements. Examples of all of these mediums are included in her showcase show.
Her subjects often include flowers, which she loves to paint, though McClusky said she enjoys painting anything from nature while walking, kayaking or cycling. McClusky will often take pictures while doing these activities she then uses as references. In addition to flowers, she said she has begun to branch out to birds and trees as a way to expand her capabilities.
“The creative process for me is almost a spiritual process and I feel really centred when I’m painting and really connected. I get a lot of joy and peaceful feelings from doing my painting and I’m hoping that my paintings will convey some of those feelings to other people,” McClusky said.
McClusky’s exhibit is on display now at the South Cariboo Business Centre until Nov. 3. She said it feels great to have got her art to the point where it can go up on display on its own and to also be able to share that progress with the community.
“When I was teaching young children we played around a lot with paint and other mediums and the whole process of creating was important rather than the final product,” McClusky said. “That’s something that I think that everyone can do. It’s very freeing and such a great process to go through.”