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Red chair at Inspire, Gallery and Cafe in Medicine Hat, Alberta. t's very Van Gogh- don't you think?

Red chair at Inspire, Gallery and Cafe in Medicine Hat, Alberta. t’s very Van Gogh- don’t you think?

I was at #Inspire Studio, Gallery and Cafe in #Medicine Hat the other day to meet a fellow Rotarian. I hadn’t been at the cafe in awhile and it was my colleague’s first time. It always interesting to see other impressions of something new. New is a term which refers to “not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.”

I had a chance to check-in with the gallery owner, Maureen Newton. Her business is a combination of cafe, art gallery and working art studio. She offers an array of art classes throughout the month. They have local, live music weekly and it’s a hub for new and well-known Alberta talent in the folk music scene.

Due to the low population of #Medicine Hat, there are few people I feel comfortable I can converse with about art, painting techniques and processes. I have come to realise that Maureen is one of those people. She is one of those quiet individuals who may look ordinary, but underneath she has a fiery determination coupled with a spiritualist nature I admire. You have to simply look up to people when they have “made it” on their own in the small forgotten corner of Southern Alberta!

In the small, yet vibrant art scene of our city, she has already done it all; solo shows, group shows, taught art classes and workshops, exhibited at a national traveling show, commissioned work and now runs a local art gallery. Whew!

Is it new? No. For an artist in the entrepreneurial world, maybe. She has a business plan and has managed to stay on top of her cafe and her career as an artist. Is this new for artists? I think so. There is a perception perpetually floating out there that if you’re an artist you can’t organise yourself out of a wet paper bag. The “starving artist myth” has some validity and I’ve encountered this mode of thinking in some art circles, but you can’t apply that to Maureen’s character. She’s a ray of sunshine in the art world and proof to me that with the right planning, an art business can be profitable.

We were discussing her new oil paintings she finished over the past few months; two paintings in a show which sold and had to be replaced for her pieces to continue to travel with the national art exhibition. Old was the background grey colouring of the ground and graduated sky verses the new vibrant mixed-green colour, adding a new dimension to the foreground grass. The German shepherd dogs now standing out and alone against the background.

I like what she said when I mentioned I should replace one of my art pieces. She said its old to me, but it’s new artwork to someone who’s in the cafe for the first time. After I left, I kept thinking of her comment of the idea of “newness”; life and art never stops; only changes and evolves into something better.

Speaking of newness, I had better get back to my mountain landscape paintings which have been sitting since before Christmas.

Time to start a new project.

The Little Red Turtle
ArtWorks in RED Studio
Theresa Eisenbarth