More than a half century ago, the five-year-old version of Linda Simrose huddled over a homemade desk her father made and put under the stairs of her house in Calgary, putting paint on paper in whatever way she felt like at the time. There was no training, no guidance, no direction to her work – it was just art for the sake of art.
She knew even then she wanted to be an artist. Or rather, that she needed to.
“I was always going to be an artist. I just knew,” she says, beaming at her gallery and studio on Happy Valley Road in Metchosin, Glow Arts Studio and Gallery. Art isn’t something that artists want to do, Simrose says. “You can’t ignore it. You have to do it. Otherwise you’ll go insane.”
Her father, an electrician by trade, encouraged Simrose into electrical drafting to incorporate her creative instincts into a career once she was of an age where she needed to start thinking about that. She later ventured into the commercial art world, becoming a graphic artist for a while, but she always created personal art on the side in her spare time.
“Even when I was a graphic artist,” she says, “I always painted and had shows while I worked full time. I painted from 5:30 to 8 a.m. until I needed to get the kids up for school, get myself to work, then come home after work and paint until bed.” She’d do that until she had 25 paintings to do a show and would then rent a hall and turn it into a gallery space to show her work.
All these years later, retired from her career as a graphic artist, sitting in the gallery space in Metchosin she’s rented for almost exactly a year after needing to expand her space from what she’d had as a member of the Coast Collective, she’s reinventing yet again.
“We’re going to have a huge changeover of all the artwork,” she says, turning Glow Arts Gallery and Studio, across from the MyChosen Cafe in the Metchosin Arts and Cultural Centre, into a veritable ocean of work – about the ocean.
The new show, Ebb & Flow, as its being called, will be a collection of 12 local artists who have all agreed to create ocean-themed work to be curated by Simrose.
The show is almost like a grand opening for Glow, as Simrose never got around to having one when she opened a year ago.
“I’d intended to have one, but I just hit the ground running, as they say. People started showing up and artists started showing up, and I just decided I liked it and kept it going,” she says with a smile.
It’s not like she’s never curated a gallery before, though. Before she opened Glow in Metchosin, she’d managed galleries in both B.C. and Alberta, and been involved in the art world her whole life.
Ebb & Flow will feature paintings of ocean scenes, driftwood art, ceramic and glasswork in the form of starfish and jellyfish and other forms of sea life – blues and greens and blue-greens everywhere.
Besides work by Simrose, Ebb & Flow will be showing and selling work by Terri Rodstrom, Connie Kaziechko, Cynthia Curtis, Kathy Cameron, Linda Anderson, Dar Churcher, Frank Mitchell, Arno Keinonen, Ruby Simrose, Anne Sempel and Karen Lancey.
The Opening reception for Ebb & Flow is being held May 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the gallery is open from Wednesday to Sunday at those same times.
Phone Simrose at the gallery at 250-590-9939 or check out the gallery’s facebook page for more information about what’s going on with Ebb & Flow and her constant re-imagining of herself and her work.