So long, and thanks for all the art

I love living in the Kootenays; though I never intended to settle here. I came here more or less by accident 18 years ago.

I love living in the Kootenays; though I never intended to settle here.  I came here more or less by accident 18 years ago.

I actually wanted to settle in the Okanagan, but as fate would have it, I fell in love and ended up staying. I got married here, had two of my three children here, made a home, forged a career and with the help of a nurturing and supporting community become a well and whole person.

I came to this area in 1993 arriving on a bus fresh from a divorce with my two-year-old daughter. I was homeless, broke and an emotional wreck. Instead of the stigma of a crazy, single-mother artist, what greeted me was a lovely community full of support and understanding.

I got a job as a waitress where the owner would give me food to take home for my small family. I took my paintings to a local cafe and they told me that they loved my work and hung it on the walls, a week later a young columnist, Anne Degrace, called me up and told me how much she liked my art and wrote a review in the Nelson newspaper.

I thought I was in heaven. No one had ever been so nice to me in my whole life.

Three months later I met my husband. The moment I first saw him it was like being hit in the head with some kind of love brick.

After that there was marriage and babies born at the Nelson hospital. Despite the horrible health-care cutbacks to our community, I have always found the level of care here above and beyond that of the cities because of the fine dedicated doctors that live here.

A few years ago I had a near-death experience mowing the lawn. I hit a ground nest of wasps and was stung repeatedly putting me at mortal risk due to an allergic reaction. My friend and neighbour Shauna Hegan came to my rescue and drove me to the Castlegar hospital where Dr. Smart saved my life. The experience changed me forever.

In the 18 years that I have lived here I have pursued art relentlessly in an area that embraces its artists. I have taught art to adults and children alike, painted murals, become a columnist, a publisher, a radio and TV producer, written and published two books and, most recently, a business owner and gallery director.

I have always been inspired by the beautiful Kootenay landscape and have painted over 1,000 paintings depicting this area. (I know because I just did an inventory of my work.) I have also managed to amass quite a collection of artwork from the wealth of talented Kootenay artists living here.

I am sorry to say that due to circumstances beyond my control our family is leaving the area. I am incredibly sad to leave. I will be moving my gallery to Kamloops and will hopefully re-open it there within the year.

The Creative Edge Gallery will be open until July 30, however I personally will be gone mid-July.  I would like to thank this community for all its support over the years and invite everyone to stop by the gallery for one last look.

Thanks for all the art.

Karla Pearce

Creative Edge Gallery