For Maureen Nelson, art is a way to relieve stress and enjoy retirement.
The act of creating something with her hands, be it woodworking or painting, has been Nelson’s passion and therapy since she was a young woman. In the summer she makes furniture and birdhouses out of wood while she switches to painting in the winter so she doesn’t have to warm her woodshop.
Although her art started with woodworking, Nelson found a niche with painting when she had to paint signs for a craft fair in Prince George. When she moved to 100 Mile House three years ago, her interest in painting took off as she switched from craft paints to art paints and started learning concepts like colour theory from local artist Bobbie Crane.
Since then Nelson, completely self-taught, has been commissioned to make nine paintings and has joined the Parkside Art Gallery. Painting keeps her busy, she said, when her partner Clifford Thorsteinson is out of town for three weeks at a time working at Newcrest’s Red Chris Mine in Dease Lake.
“I get swept up in it and I just keep painting. I have to be detail-oriented and finish it nicely. I just enjoy blending and melding the colours together to create a finished product to show to people,” Nelson, 63, said.
For Nelson, art isn’t so much a talent as it is a way for her to experiment with paints and colours.
Typically she paints a wide range of things from pictures of cowboys on the range, flowers, nature, portraits and animals. She is particularly proud of a painting of a moose she recently completed. Her next big planned project will be a painting of her grandfather Victor Furrer on a horse drinking from a creek. The painting is based on a photograph.
“It’s the history and sentimentality of it. It’s just a nice setting and it will be hard to paint but if I can just get something that captures my attention, then I’ll try it.”
Nelson, who grew up in 100 Mile House, spent much of her time up north before returning here to be with her partner. As an added bonus, her parents, Neil and Joan Law, still live in town so it’s nice to be able to look after them.
One day Nelson hopes to accumulate enough paintings to put on her own show at Parkside but said right now she is selling all her paintings before she can curate them for a show. She said it’s a good but surprising feeling to have people buy her art.