“It has been a journey – it’s been a spiritual journey as well as a physical one,” said Withrow artist Heidi Taylor.
The journey recently ended in June when Taylor, 78, finished her university education with a certificate in art, graduating with distinction.
It was seven years of work and continuous travel to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, but Taylor accomplished something she never though she would be able to, she graduated from university and furthered her education in art.
The culmination of seven years of hard work and tireless travelling is an art show Aug. 11 at the Eckville Manor.
The exhibit will display water colour pieces Taylor has worked on over the years and showcased in her graduation exhibition in June.
“I’ve been asked for a while now to bring some of my art to the Manor. I just kept telling everyone after I graduate,” said Taylor.
The exhibit, titled Floral Transitions, is numerous studies of floral compositions done in water colour.
One study in particular – that of an amaryllis – is done in a series over time from when the plant began to sprout until it was fully in bloom.
This series of images exemplifies the theme of the exhibit. It shows the transition of a flower from a sprout to a beautiful, grown blooming flower.
“I just love florals, and painting them. I want to get right inside them and make them seem real in the painting,” she said.
One painter in particular she loves and takes inspiration from is Gloria O’Keefe who is famous – or maybe infamous – for her interpretations of flowers.
Taylor loves the way O’Keefe dives into a painting and shows the viewer the flower’s deepest parts.
“Some say her paintings are salacious, but I don’t think so. She is just getting into the flower and showing you all the parts and pieces of the flower from a different view,” said Taylor.
She says she likes painting blossoms for their own sake. Though she has found over the years some people weren’t interested in that style of painting.
Her mentor at the University of Alberta, for example, wanted Taylor to create paintings of pretty flowers in vases in front of a window.
“I did some of that, but I found it wasn’t me. I think you can see it in the painting that it doesn’t reflect my style.”
Taylor is excited to share her paintings with the residents at the Manor and the people of Eckville.
The exhibition is a moment to show the hard work she has put in over the last seven yeard, obtaining her certificate at the age of 78.
“I only missed one class over the last seven years,” she said.
Her dedication was only supported by her husband Arnold, who drove her to class in Edmonton every week.
Arnold has supported his wife’s ambitions and passions faithfully and proudly, happily showing off his wife’s work and photos of her graduation exhibit.
Even during down points in her life and journey to finding water colour and going on to post-secondary education, Arnold supported her and helped her.
“I couldn’t have done it without him.”
“She always wanted to go to university for art, and now she has,” Arnold said.
Taylor’s exhibit, Floral Transitions, will be on display at the Eckville Manor on Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Taylor may also show the exhibit at the church in Withrow in the fall before entering juried shows through the fall and winter.