For artist Anita Desnoyers, it doesn’t matter if she’s never done something before; if she wants to do it, she will.
And the more challenging the better. For example, when she decided to take up crocheting, the clerk at the craft store showed her the patterns, but rather than choosing one for beginners, she picked the most difficult one.
“If it’s not a challenge, I won’t do it,” she said, adding she’s always had that quality. “If it’s hard, I’ll jump in and do it; if it’s easy I don’t want it.”
So after turning on the public television show The Joy of Painting and watching host Bob Ross, well-known for his soft voice and afro, she took up painting.
“I thought ‘I think I could do that,” she said, adding she began videotaping his show because he painted too fast to follow.
At first, she was afraid of making mistakes and would rub out any error and do it again. After a while, she stopped worrying about making mistakes and her paintings improved.
She moved up here from Vancouver 14 years ago after coming up to help her father, who was dying of cancer, and he asked her to stay to take care of her mother after he passed away so her mother wouldn’t be alone. She agreed and moved here.
Both her parents have since died but she stayed, loving the beauty that’s all around.
“It’s the most beautiful landscape you can paint,” she said, adding the area is an open canvas for her.
All her paintings are originals; she may do a painting more than once, but there’s always something she changes about subsequent ones so no two are the same.
“I always change them. They’re never, ever the same,” she said.
So if people see a painting they love and it’s already sold, they will be able to get another one that’s similar in future.
Her latest, and one of her biggest creations yet, is almost three-dimensional as viewers can look at it and also into it.
And it was also her most daunting canvas to date.
When she bought the big canvas, which measures six feet by three feet, or 1.8 m x 1 m, she decided to save it for something special.
She set it aside for a long time, started to paint and found it to be too overwhelming so she put it aside again.
Then one day, she sat down and kept painting until it was finished.
She’s not sure how many hours it took to finish but she was pleased with it and says she “definitely” will do more large paintings.
Taking a look at it before taking it to a potential buyer, she noticed a spot that she’d change next time.
“The tree should go over the log there,” she said, pointing to a tree on the far right side that has the lowest part of its trunk behind a moss-covered log, saying she will stretch the tree down to the ground in front of the log in the next version of that painting. And likely there will be other differences too.
To see more of her paintings, see the details on the April show at the art gallery under City Scene in the April 2 Terrace Standard.