Laurie McCallum- Artist Interview
This week we visit with one of our Peace River Chapter FCA members, Laurie McCallum to find out a bit more about who she is, what motivates her to create art and more!
“I would have to say that painting is definitely my favorite. I can get lost in it very easily, it brings me peace, especially in these crazy days of late.”
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself. Anything you’d like to share, perhaps where you live, where you were born?
A: I was born and raised in Northern Saskatchewan, and I lived there until my husband and I moved to north east BC where we raised our children and worked in the oil and gas industry for many years. I took a position in Grande Prairie working in the industry shortly before everything in the patch really started to slow down. I found I had a lot more time on my hands, and we were able to spend summers at our cabin back in beautiful Saskatchewan, so I took up painting to pass some time during the long summer days. After only a couple of years of painting, I decided to leave my career behind, with my husband’s full support, and pursue a life of art. I am so happy I made that decision.
Q: When did you first realize that you enjoyed creating art? Is there a particular person who supported your decision to pursue your goals? If so, in what way did you feel supported?
A: I have enjoyed art for as long as I can remember. As a child, my mother encouraged me to draw and always complimented my work, even when it was really bad, lol. I also had a great childhood friend who always cheered me on and still does to this very day, many, many years later. I appreciate them both so much. Although I did not create any art for many years between my pencil art days, and picking up a paint brush for the first time in 2016, my husband always encouraged me over the years, to pick up my art again, and since I have, both he and my daughter have been my biggest supporters. I appreciate their honesty when critiquing my work, and their encouragement to keep going when I feel defeated and ready to closet some pieces. It is so great to know I always have someone to lean on.
Q: What is your motivation for creating art?
A: I love the feeling of bringing someone’s memory to life. When I paint a picture from a special faded photo, bringing the colors back to life, and centering on that special someone, or that certain moment in their day, and then to hear them say it made them cry, or have them tell me that I can never know how much it means to them to have it brought back to life, that is the only motivation I need.
Q: Do you have a favorite medium and if so, why?
A: I work with clay and create jewelry as well as paint with acrylics, and I would have to say that painting is definitely my favourite. I can get lost in it very easily, it brings me peace, especially in these crazy days of late.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about some of your artworks and what they mean to you?
This is Gracie. I painted this for a friend whom I actually have never met in person, but who I admire very much.
She is a great supporter of animal rescues, and has fostered and cared for many animals overthe years.
Gracie was her heart dog, her best friend, and this was their favorite place to go.
I painted this as a gift, when Gracie lost her battle with cancer.
This painting to me symbolizes loyalty, love, friendship, good times, and sorrow all at the same time. It makes me happy to know that my work can make someone smile, even through their sadness.
I painted this one a couple of years ago.
This was done at the time when I decided to leave my day job and pursue art on a full-time basis.
I look at it as my awakening painting. The day I felt free to paint without apprehension.
This is one of my favourite oilfield pieces. To me, this piece shows that beauty can be found in anything, even a plain old day on the job.
The majority of my commissions are oilfield art, and probably my favourite subject to paint.
It is so gratifying to see the smiles, and hear the pride in the voices of the men and women
I paint these for when they see something
they love to do put on canvas for them to enjoy in a beautiful way in their homes.
My Own Way to Rock
This one, “My Own Way to Rock” is a piece I did just for me. It is one of the largest pieces I have done at 36x36 inches, and was one of the most challenging paintings I have done to date.
It was such a challenge for me, because I am not a “loose” painter. I am all about the details, and I had to fight myself every step on this one not to get in close and personal.
This painting always reminds me that you can’t grow and become better at what you do, if you don’t challenge yourself every single day.
Q: When you create art do you listen to calming music, are you thinking of anything in particular or have any emotions at all?
A:Sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I listen to a good book on audible, and some days I just enjoy total silence, and lose myself in my own personal thoughts and imaginings.
Q: In our busy world, time can be an issue. Do you have any tips or tricks to find time for your art?
A: In a perfect world, I would be able to complete my domestic chores, spend time with my family and dogs, create the perfect home, and still have time left in the day to paint beautiful creations within the time slot I set aside to be creative. In the real world, when inspiration hits – no matter the time – get busy and create, because there may be days or weeks when you have no inspiration at all, that is the time to clean your house and bake pies. LOL.
Q: Is creating art your main profession?
A: Yes, it is now, and has been for approximately 2 years. Thanks to the financial and moral support of my husband. He is my greatest fan.
Q: Can you tell us about any awards or exhibitions that have made an impact on your life?
A: Well I haven’t been seriously painting for very long, only 4 years since I first started, so I haven’t really put myself out there to enter into any real competitions or exhibitions.
I have entered a few pieces with the Federation of Canadian Artists and became a member with them late last year, not long before Covid hit, so there hasn’t been an abundant amount of opportunities to compete.
The greatest high lite I have enjoyed so far, is creating a painting for Burton Cummings, and sending it to him, and to have him send me a photo of himself holding the painting, and then to autograph a photo of my painting and send it back to me as well.
That was very thrilling to receive, and to see it being shared on his personal Facebook and IG pages.
Q :Do you have any major goals for your art career?
A: Only to improve on my own style, and not to be wooed by what is popular at the moment. To stay true to myself and never stop enjoying what I do, because then it becomes a job.
Q: What inspires you to be the best artist that you can be?
A: Without a doubt, my clients. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lazy, and just want a piece to be done, I remind myself that this is someone’s special memory, or a timeless moment that they treasure, and they have entrusted that with me to bring to reality for them. That inspires me to do my very best.
Thank you Laurie for sharing a bit about your art journey with us!