Donna Bozarth - Artist Interview

April 2021

'Creating art is where I go to find joy, happiness and to get lost

in a world of creativity.'

~ Donna Bozarth


Donna BozarthQ. Please tell us about bit about yourself. Anything you’d like to share, perhaps where you live, where you were born, your family.

I was born in Fort St John, BC.  My Dad worked for Westcoast Transmission, so I was raised on Westcoast stations along the Alaska Highway.  By the time I was 11, we were living just outside Chetwynd, which was a great little community to grow up in and I still think of it as home. In 2001, after spending 7 years in Lillooet, we moved back to Fort St John, and I felt I had come full circle.  

We have raised two beautiful daughters and have 2 wonderful grandsons who are so much fun to be with.  Recently we found out that more grandchildren are on the way – and this time it’s twins!

Q. Can you tell us when you first realized that you enjoyed creating art and wished to become an artist. Is there a particular person who supported your decision to pursue your goals? If so, in what way did you feel supported? If so, how did you feel

I have loved art for as long as I can remember.  As a kid, I could spend hours by myself colouring and doodling. My Mom was a very creative person and was always encouraging my sisters and I to try new things so it’s always felt natural to pick up new crafts. By the time I was a teenager, I was so involved in ceramics, that my parents bought me a kiln and my Dad set up a studio for me at the back of the garage.  That kiln has followed me everywhere I have moved!      

One summer, I convinced my parents to let me go to Nelson, BC to attend their Summer School of the Arts program. I was so excited to be part of an art community and take art lessons, that I registered, jumped on the bus and headed to Nelson. I arrived in Nelson in the middle of the night only to find no one from the school to meet the incoming students. Luckily, I got a taxi cab driver who knew the manager for the student residences. He wasn’t very happy about being woken up in the middle of the night, but the manager grudgingly met me and all the other students who also arrived in the middle of the night, at the dorms to let us in.  Being around other artists, musicians and actors only reinforced my love of art.

Q. What is your motivation for creating art?

I am motivated by an inner need to show others how I see things.  Creating art is where I go to find joy, happiness and to get lost in a world of creativity.

Q. Do you have a favorite medium and if so, why?

It’s hard to pick just one, but some of my favourites are charcoal, clay and encaustics.  I love getting messy with my hands and that tactile sculptural aspect of clay, printmaking and encaustics. I am always exploring or learning new techniques and mediums that I can combine together when creating art. I often work in graphite, charcoal, conte, watercolour, acrylic or encaustic depending on what I want to achieve. I have done black and white film photography and even have my own darkroom. Lately I’ve been exploring oils and plan to do more encaustics as well as printmaking with encaustics in the upcoming year.

Regardless of what medium I use, my favourite subjects are portraits and figurative work.

Q. Tell us about some of your artworks and what they mean to you.

Only When I'm Alone by Donna Bozarth

Leigh by Donna Bozarth


I painted 'Only When I’m Alone' during an art retreat in Ireland. It’s created using encaustic, which is beeswax and damar resin mixed with pigments, on Awagami paper. Being able to paint in a Castle while surrounded by a beautiful landscape truly was magical. The word encaustics originates from ancient Greek which means to ‘burn in’.  Encaustic is such a versatile medium as many techniques can be used with it to create layers and layers of luscious texture.

If I can find one positive thing that has changed since the pandemic, it is the way life drawing groups have emerged with online sessions. So many well-known figurative groups have moved to an online platform which has allowed easier access to life drawing. It may not be the same as drawing someone who is in the same room as you, but I’ve embraced this new format and am in awe of being able to draw models from all over the world. 'Leigh', is a dancer from the San Francisco area who I had the pleasure of the drawing. This portrait was created during a 20-minute pose using conte. I find my artwork tends to be looser when under a time crunch. Given an opportunity to go back, I will fuss with the piece until I have lost the freshness of that initial sketch.

Chasing Dreams by Donna Bozarth

Irish Eyes by Donna Bozarth


'Chasing Dreams' is my attempt towards becoming more abstract in my work using charcoal. The idea of leaving part of the story untold and allowing the viewer to fill in their own story appeals to me. I want to draw the viewer into the piece to wonder what I was trying to convey.

'Irish Eyes' is a coloured pencil drawing of a wonderful gentleman I met in Ireland.  He was our guide for part of a day while we toured the small island of Inis Oirr, where the locals speak Gaelic. He even did his best to teach us a few phrases.  

Q. When you create art do you listen to calming music, are you thinking of anything in particular or have any emotions at all? 

I have a playlist of country, blues, classic rock, reggae, Celtic and soft rock that I listen to while creating art.  I find music relaxes me and soothes me soul.  Sometimes I find myself so involved in a piece that I don’t actually hear the words of the songs.  Other times, I feel connected to the music and find the emotion comes through on my painting – even if it gets hidden under layers and layers of paint and I’m the only one that knows what’s hidden.   

Q. In our busy world, time can be an issue. Do you have any tips or tricks to find time for your art? 

I spent the better part of last year renovating our home. The one thing I discovered about myself is that it’s hard to create in chaos.  I need a relaxing environment and I need a goal to work towards.  Currently, I am getting ready for an art show at Peace Gallery North with another artist called ‘From There to Here’ that opens in April.  It will be an eclectic journey in art as seen through the eyes of two friends about the places they’ve been and the people they have met along the way.

Q. Is creating art your main profession? 

Not yet!

Q. Can you tell us about any awards or exhibitions that have made an impact on your life?

I belonged to the Federation group for quite a while before I finally got the nerve to enter a juried art show and was thrilled to receive an honourable mention in that first show.  I think that was the moment when I felt like a ‘real’ artist. Since then, I’ve received more honourable mentions and placed in the top awards in other juried shows.  I’ve had artwork accepted into international juried art shows and have also had artwork shown in exhibitions that travelled through Spain, England and France.

Q. Do you have any major goals for your art career? 

I love learning!  For me being an artist is about exploring new ideas and new techniques to continually grow.  I am on a journey to create and be true to what excites me.  I am honoured when people buy my art to hang on their walls and it inspires me to make more.  I can’t wait until I can retire and do this full-time!

Q. What inspires you to be the best artist that you can be? 

I want to share my love of figurative and portraiture works.  I have a curious mind, and am always thinking ‘what if I tried this?’  There is a lot of ‘what if’s’ in my art but I have a goal of always trying to improve and just make something new that others will also enjoy.  

Q. Is there  anything else you’d like to share about your art journey or inspiration so far to inspire others? 

I am grateful to have found local art groups when we moved here 20 years ago.  Connecting with artists who have the same goals is not just inspiring but has created lasting friendships.  In 2018, I travelled to England for a printmaking workshop with a group of artists.  That trip changed the way I look at art and what I want to achieve as an artist.  The following year, I took the trip of a lifetime to Ireland and met another group of amazing artists that have become friends and mentors.  So, to all my friends – I want you to know how grateful I am to have you in my life.  You inspire me, you push me out of my comfort zone and you cheer me on.  Even though we are all apart during this crazy time, from the bottom of my heart - thank you!  

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Thank you Donna for sharing your story with us!