Juanita Corbett shows off her most recent work. Max Winkelman photo.

New Showcase exhibit comes with a story

‘I just want to encourage people not to stop, not to quit’

The Showcase Gallery features a whole host of different mediums through the works of Juanita Corbett.

“I’ve been an artist since I was six but that was singing not painting.”

That meant she went around with her uncle “Stringbean” meaning that she went around Nashville with him to perform.

“Being an artist in the sense that you’re zeroing in on your craft and whatever is in here, you’re trying to get it out,” she says putting her hand on her torso.

“So singing as a child and as a teenager and then at 61 I wanted to just tell a story about how I started.”

That’s why Corbett decided to include a framed handwritten note in the exhibit.

Starting painting was really just by chance, she says, it was not because she wanted to be an artist.

“I didn’t start singing because I wanted to be a singer. There’s things inside you that want to come out and then all of a sudden you find out who you are.”

Corbett started painting when she was encouraged by another local artist, Sheryl Gauthier, she says while proudly pointing to her first painting of a red barn.

“I started out with watercolour and then I went to pen and ink and then I went to acrylics and then I went to pastel.”

She likes watercolours for its softness, acrylics for their brilliance and pastel because it’s easy, she says.

After 61 years, she says she didn’t know how to draw anything, much less paint anything, so she would just take workshops.

“That was the fun part, and frustrating, when you’re starting because you really don’t know what you’re doing but if you just take some workshops… the creativity will find its way onto the canvas.”

Corbett has also put a little bit of a story with each work she’s put up.

“I wanted you to know why this would be important to me or, you know, just where are these little cabins. I just wanted to tell a little story so that you could tell. Because, I don’t know how many times I’ve been in here and looked at a painting and I looked at a painting going, ‘I wonder where that was? Was that here in B.C.?’”

The exhibit ranges from landscapes, often with buildings, animals and portraits, though she says the latter isn’t her forte.

Usually, she takes the pictures she uses herself but there are a few exceptions.

Corbett says she loves old buildings and thinks they deserve a lot more respect.

One of her works is of an old cabin towards Clinton.

“It’s a first schoolhouse so I drew this. Actually, my brother and I, when we were passing, we would talk about the stories that those walls could tell. Then when my brother passed I was drawing this one so it always reminds me of him.”

The old buildings are just priceless, she says, because they wouldn’t have had the tools we have today and yet they’re still standing.

“I just want to encourage people not to stop not to quit. If you have started and are frustrated, just try a different medium. Just try something else. Because what happens when you’re drawing is you’re so focussed on what you’re doing that it takes you to a different place and you’re not thinking about other things. Your whole focus is on what you’re doing and it takes you away from your worries or frustration, problems you can’t fix. And, you’re hoping that some of these are going to outlast you.”


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