A Fort Langley artist jokingly foreshadows seven years of bad luck, after breaking a mirror to create one of her most recent pieces of art.
Despite the superstitious omen looming over Pat Barker, she said the new year of 2013 is already stacking up to be a good one.
As a relative-newbie painter, she's elated to be opening her first ever show next week at the Fort Gallery, alongside fellow Langleyite and ceramicist Kathleen McGiveron.
Their show, called Inspired and IrReGuLAr, opens Jan. 2, and runs to Jan. 20, with an opening reception with the artists on at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4.
"Kathleen and I have very different works - it will be an interesting show. They seem to contrast - but once the show is hung - you know what... I've got the feeling they may contrast so much that they actually will work well together," she said.
Barker is a retired firefighter and documentary filmmaker, whose inspiration to paint, came at a crossroad while shooting a documentary in Duqm, Oman in April of 2011.
"I had been commissioned to document an artist's retreat, with 31 artists from very diverse backgrounds, in Duqm, a developing port town, about a day's drive from Muscat. The trip to Oman was put together literally overnight," explained Barker.
"Within 48 hours of being awarded the contract, I found myself in the middle of the dessert, in the Middle East, literally in the middle one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world. Interacting with the artists, and especially a tour of Vera Mauro's studio in Sohar, I found myself wanting to put down the camera and paint. There is a physicality to Vera's painting - I'd never seen anyone paint like that."
Barker didn't realize it then, but Mauro had a tremendous impact on her picking up a paintbrush again.
A few months later, when she and her husband Pete Methot (Langley City's assistant fire chief) settled in Fort Langley - and following a home break-in - they were was left with nothing to hang on the walls of her new condo.
"I started painting and when all the walls were filled, I didn't want to stop, so I applied to the Fort Gallery," said Barker, who like most kids first picked up a paintbrush in elementary school.
"I've felt a connection to the pencil since childhood, really - right back to when I was first taught to hold a pencil," she recounted, remembering a longing to be an "amazing artist" like her sister. She was one of seven kids.
"In the past, I've only ever painted realistic looking paintings, and prefer watercolour pencil crayons because of the control the pencil allows. Working in acrylic - this is something very different from anything I've ever done before. Painting like this - I feel vulnerable. Naked."
She hopes to have about 20 paintings ready for the upcoming show, and was feverishly working to finish them leading up to the show.
As for how many pieces will be incorporated into the show, she said that will depend on time and wall space. Admittedly, she said, she's nervous, this being her first show.
"I'm very nervous about it, but excited at the same time," she said.
The new year is promising further rewards for this artists.
She's also planning to open The Pencil Studio in the new space in Bedford Landing's Flatiron building in the spring.
"I love the pencil. It's the medium that speaks to me_ I'm working on a documentary film about the pencil that I hope to have completed by 2014. There is so much about this writing tool that I didn't know about until I started doing the research."
In contrast to Barker's new works, McGiveron [www.kmcgiveron-art.com] described her work.
"The sculptures I create are inspired by the figurine. By using the body of figurines the sculptures appear traditional, but at second glance it is revealed that these scaled-up figurines have had their decals or possessions stripped and replaced with unconventional, popular logo patterning through method of decal, or with hand built, pop icons," she said.
The 23-year-old Murrayville artist is a graduate of Emily Carr who is represented by the SMASH Gallery of Modern Art (smashmodernart.com) in Vancouver, as well as being a member of The Fort Gallery.
"I am interested in the way pop icons and imagery can replace traditional images used as surface decoration on ceramic ware. Historically, culture has been preserved on the surface of ceramics; it is my aim to document as well as create a dialogue about our contemporary culture on the surfaces of my sculptures," McGiveron said.
"In a way, my works are almost an anti-monument: the viewer is able to relate to the piece and recognize that what is occurring in my sculptures is connected to what is happening today. They are about what the peoples are interested in. I specifically document that which is most popular at the moment; as time passes and fads go out of style and our culture's interest's change, my sculptures change as well."