It was a travelling carnival in the 1940s that got Patricia Jaster into painting when she was just a young child.
The Chilliwack artist recalled the E.J. Casey Shows rolling into her neighbourhood when she was about six or seven years old. They’d set up the exhibition at the end of her street in Winnipeg.
“They had school contests to have your artwork in. That’s when I kept winning first prize in the shows.”
Now, more than 75 years later, she’s having her first solo show in Chilliwack.
Vibrancy of Colour and Light runs Jan. 20 to Feb. 18 at the O’Connor Group Art Gallery in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
It’s an exhibition of mostly watercolour paintings, interspersed with acrylics and some prints. Her paintings include very realistic and detailed portraits, animals, landscapes and more.
When she was younger, she had a lot of encouragement from her educators to paint, which led to a lifetime career in and passion for art.
“My parents were really good at supporting me,” Jaster added. “That helped a lot.”
Nobody in her family was an artist.
“It was a gift from upstairs, I guess,” Jaster said with a smile. “I love it. It’s just something I love to do.”
She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1960. For 40 years, Jaster taught ‘mediums, materials and methodologies’ at various B.C. universities, colleges and private institutions.
For the past 15 years, she’s been teaching watercolour painting at Julie Anne’s Art and Framing store in Chilliwack. When COVID-19 hit, and when she was allowed to, she moved the classes to her basement. Jaster is hoping to bring them back to Julie Anne’s soon.
While teaching classes at the art store, she’d finish a painting every two weeks. Vibrancy of Colour and Light is made up of artwork over the past 15 years.
There’s a wide variety of subjects in her work that’s on display at the cultural centre. Each piece has a sign beside it – some featuring Jaster’s own poetry, others listing the award(s) won.
“I love painting pretty well everything.”
But her favourite subject is the ocean. Her eyes light up as she speaks about it.
“There’s so many faces in the ocean,” she said. “When it’s sunny and warm, it brings back memories of childhood – the waves and the birds, everything – and then it can be wild.”
Those who are learning to paint should use watercolour before using acrylics, she advised.
“It makes you loosen up, it makes you know what you’re going to (paint). You have to think 10 minutes, paint five.”
Jaster has some advice for budding artists.
“I would like to encourage the young people that are up-and-coming not to be afraid of painting with watercolours. It kind of scares a few people, but if you have a teacher that knows what they’re doing, it brings out what (the student) knows already.”
Jaster’s show begins on Friday, Jan. 20 with an opening reception set for Saturday, Jan. 21.
Although she’s had solo exhibitions in Abbotsford and Australia plus she’s been part of several group shows in the past, this is her first solo exhibit in Chilliwack.
“I would like to let the paintings speak for themselves – rather than me telling everybody all about it – because they will.”
Patricia Jaster’s solo exhibition, Vibrancy of Colour and Light is on display Jan. 20 to Feb. 18 at the O’Connor Group Art Gallery in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. The opening reception is on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. Admission is free. The show is presented by the Chilliwack Visual Artists Association of which Jaster is a member.
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