Georgia Lesley and Shelley Duck didn’t know each other before their children married each other and moved to the Cariboo.
In fact, the two women had only met a few times before each moved independently next door to each other in 150 Mile House
Both are painters. Lesley works in acrylics and Duck works in coloured pencil and water colour. Shelley’s pieces often depict Cariboo scenery — picturesque barns or old cars — and people in beautiful detail, while Lesley’s paintings showcase bright swirling skies with expressive trees, or the occasional raven.
Initially, when the two women moved to 150 Mile in 2016, they talked about opening a gallery in a shop on their property, but the work to be done to get there seemed, well, rather a lot.
Now, as of March 16, their dream of opening a gallery has become a reality.
The duo opened the Still Water Gallery & Gift Shop in the 150 Mile Centre on Friday, a place to display and sell artwork by local artisans, as well as pottery and other original art pieces.
Lesley reached out to other artists in the community, with a small minority from across B.C., as well as the local potters guild as a way of finding artists to stock the shelves.
“One of the goals was to get to know people in the community and get to know other artists and things like that so this was a way to do it,” said Lesley, who has owned other galleries in the past.
“This space came up, we had thought about coming into town, and we thought, why not here.”
The two artists say they’ve gotten a positive response so far.
“Everybody in here who has work in here has been really supportive and we hope this works, because it’s a really nice place to have local art.”
The partnership was an unlikely one.
“It wasn’t planned,” said Lesley. “We had met once a long time ago, and thankfully now we are really good friends. We have a lot in common because we both like to do art.”
“It’s been absolutely wonderful because we discovered we have so much in common: we’re both artists, we are both really into music, and it just worked,” said Duck.
The fact that both of their art styles are very different has helped.
“Our mediums are opposite, so there has been no clash or competition. We support each other.”
As for what they are hoping from others in the Cariboo:
“Everybody come!” said Duck.
The Still Water Gallery & Gift Shop’s spring hours are Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.