Patricia Dulthie-Nelson sits with some of her colourful cats, who currently reside in the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.

Qualicum Beach gets lighthearted felines

Fun images are more like illustrations than paintings

Patricia Duthie-Nelson wants people to laugh at her work.

“The world is so serious right now,” said the artist.

So, to keep things lighthearted, Nelson (who goes by her maiden name Duthie on her artwork) has populated her new exhibit in the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply with some fanciful felines.

“Every one is a cat I’ve owned,” she said, explaining that cats were a huge part of her family while growing up.

Looking at the paintings, you can see why the artist herself describes them as more like illustrations than anything else. Bright and bold, the images come straight from the imagination. Nelson, who used to write and illustrate books for her grade one class when they were learning to read, also said that her cat works help to tell a tale.

“All my paintings have a story behind them,” she said.

However, that doesn’t mean Nelson will tell people what that is. Instead, she wants her viewers to “enjoy coming up with their own interpretation.”

She also wants people to look beyond the cats and their shenanigans as she said that her art is more about the colour and shape and texture.

For her work, Nelson uses acrylic, ink, watercolour, gouache, egg tempera and pastels — though not all at the same time.

She developed her current style by incorporating techniques learned in art lessons, including at UBC, throughout her life and by studying art history. Putting all those influences together with her own creativity can be “awkward,” she said.

“Often with a painting I will hate it for a while,” she said.

Still, Nelson said it usually works out in the end and that she hasn’t let those challenges dampen her imagination. In fact, she admitted that she’s fast approaching her “second childhood.”

In fact, she’s currently experimenting with some pen and ink sketches, which aren’t shown at QAS.

“(They’re) sort of like cartoons,” she said of the characters she developed while doodling. “I don’t know where they come from.”

There’s no word yet on when the public might get the opportunity to interpret the adventures within these new illustrations.

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