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20 Questions With Ginny Wilkie
As a kid in Quebec, Ginny Wilkie had an early claim to fame: rubbing shoulders with great Canadian artists.
There was Arthur Lismer, who belonged to the famed Group of Seven—an early 20th century group of Canadian landscape painters. Wilkie would often tag along with her mother who was a regular in Lismer’s classes in Montreal. She’d watch his lessons, and often stay late.
Then there was painter Stanley Cosgrove, a close family friend who Wilkie still remembers through an antique rocking chair now in her Steveston home. During one visit in Montreal, Cosgrove’s partner Karen moved toward the small chair, and to everyone’s horror, it snapped into pieces when she sat down. Repairs were made, and Wilkie now keeps it steps away from where she paints.
A 27-year resident of Steveston, Wilkie is an artist who paints with acrylics, pastes and gels on canvas.
The University of B.C.-trained artist has dabbled in many art areas. In her early years she focused on brightly-painted dough figures for children and then eventually expanding to painting and creating large wall murals for children.
Today, her works—textured to create the illusion of depth—can often be found in coffee shop galleries. From now until Sept. 23, her works can be seen at Rocanini Coffee Roasters Cafe (115-3900 Moncton St.) in a joint show with Sharleen Hartfiel.
1. Describe yourself? I’m sensitive, ambitious, kind and highly aware of other people’s emotions. I tend to be upbeat and positive.
2. How did Quebec influence your art? Montreal, where I grew up, was a very cultural city. My parents were very involved in the arts and music scene there. I was always brought out to museums, concerts.
3. What do you like to paint? I like to paint simple, uplifting and vibrant paintings, particularly trees. Clear, crisp colours are very important to me. The images are not necessarily meant to be realistic, I am more into creating illusions of reality.
4. What draws you to paint leafless trees? The simplicity—the contrast of the textured trees with the purity of the glowing backgrounds. Less is more.
5. Trapped on a desert island with brushes, paper, canvas—and what 3 other artist’s tools? Moulding paste, gels and a set of palette knives.
6. What do you like best about Steveston? The beauty of the natural surroundings, the sunsets, the character, and of course, the close friendships that have developed here.
7. Your first job? I did part-time modelling as a teenager. First full-time job was teaching special education.
8. Strangest venue your art has been exhibited? Nothing too strange yet.
9. Painting you’re most proud of? I am very fond of the large sized canvases of trees on the blue backgrounds.
10. Go-to attire when painting? None in particular, I get covered in paint though, really should learn to put on a smock!
11. What do you do for inspiration? I am very instinctual and am inspired once I actually start a painting. I really don’t know what the finished product will look like when I begin, often in the end it is not at all like what I had expected it to be when finished. The paintings seem to just take on a life of their own as they develop.
12. What did your parents do for a living? My father was a doctor, and my mother a stay-at-home mom, until later years when she got her master’s degree in biology and embarked on a teaching career.
13. Where do you paint? I paint at home, upstairs in a very bright den. I need good lighting as I paint a lot with iridescent paints and it’s important to be able to see clearly so as to get the right glowing effect.
14. What’s the most unusual mural you’ve made? Enormous clowns floating around the room holding bunches of colourful hot air balloons. Elephants, monkeys and giraffes looking on from a train.
15. Best pet? Around age seven, there was a beautiful stray dog. She was pregnant, desperate for a home and would not leave our back door. My parents told me if she was there in the morning, I could keep her. We took her in, my mother washed her several times. The dog was ecstatic, followed me around never leaving my side. We named her Toto.
16. In your early days as an artist, who was a guiding force? My mother and her huge appreciation of the beauty of nature, everything in life was special to her and she passed that appreciation on to her family.
17. Best art gallery/museum you’ve visited? Many, particularly in Paris and England.
18. Something from your bucket list? I don’t really have a bucket list. Every day is a joy and an adventure.
19. Favourite time to paint? All times of the day, but it is easier to paint in the daytime with the natural light.
20. Where do you sell your work? Word of mouth, coffee shops and some galleries.