Letter: Library’s featured artist shares the stories behind her work

Again I am inspired, not by novel sights and sounds around me as usual, but instead by my own old paintings. There are 12 in all – painted between 1979 and 2000 – and they’re hanging at the Agassiz Public Library.

The first painting was from a vision I had in 1980 in which an angel showed me my immediate future. My daughter would be born and my happy family life with Raymond and Avalon Butchart begun.

Near the library’s front door, guardians in bright colours – a man and his queen – frame a painting of my neighbourhood in Bridgeview, Surrey.

In the children’s section is “My Class,” a painting from my time teaching in St. Augustine’s, a Vancouver Catholic school.

As you can see, I love pattern-red dots or blue uniforms.

Also in the children’s section is “The Little Prince.” We placed the painting low so he appears to inhabit the toy castle where the kids play. I hope they will choose to include the prince in their imaginings.

Finally, my impressionistic works:

– “Palm Reading”: I loved painting the patterned red carpet and the women’s bright dresses! Quite a successful picture, I think.

– “Candles for the Tables”: This was in the Hotel Vancouver coffee shop at Christmas.

– “Georgia”: A woman as beautiful as her home. She was the daughter of my mentor, Joan Warm, from the Sunshine Coast.

– “The Blue Room”: My best and biggest painting. I’m proud of this piece. It’s my cousin Mavis and me at a bed-and-breakfast in the Eastern Townships, Que.

It’s good to have this small retrospective of some of my hidden art. There’s more where this came from.


– Irja Karen Butchart, artist

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