Port Alberni artists learning to have more fun with art

Port Alberni artist work on display at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply

Chris Motyka is no stranger to drawing and painting, but in recent years she’s been venturing back out to the art world.

Motyka’s work is currently on display at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply.

Motyka, a Port Alberni resident, said she started cartooning as a little kid.

“We didn’t have TVs and all that funny stuff that kids are all into now, so to keep yourself busy you doodled,” she said.

Originally from Manitoba, Motyka said when she was going to school in Winnipeg, they didn’t have a progressive art class. Then, she said, time marches on and you become an adult and marry and have kids and you don’t have the time.

“Then when you’re freer, you start picking it up again if you’re really interested in it and I’m really interested in it,” Motyka said.

It was in 1985, Motyka said, that she tried her hand at art again, but when her husband died in 1988, she took a 20-year hiatus.

“When I took the break and I started again, I was appalled at how much I had forgotten. I thought I could just pick up where I left off,” Motyka said of practising her craft.

“There were almost a couple times where I said, ‘To hell with it, I’m not doing this any more.’”

But Motyka said she kept at it and now she’s learning to have more fun with her art.

Motyka said in the past few years of getting back into art, she’s tried her hand at watercolour and coloured pencils and now she’s slowly making her way into acrylic.

She loves coloured pencil because it’s easier to control, Motyka said, whereas she loves the surprise when it comes to watercolour.

“When you go to paint, you never know what it’s going to turn into because water and paint will do what it will do,” she said. “As you do it more and more, you learn to control it better.”

Motyka said she’s a little more uncertain when it comes to acrylic paints, though.

“Acrylic doesn’t do what watercolour does and so you have to learn to master the paint first,” Motyka said of the ongoing process. “You don’t just pick it up and slap it on and go, ‘Yeah, it’s wonderful.’ You find out trial and error that you shouldn’t have done that — you should have done it a different way.”

While she’s trying out new ideas for her artwork, Motyka said she draws inspiration from flowers.

Motyka said when she’s painting or drawing flowers, she looks for something that has a “wow factor.”

“I love the combinations of the oranges and reds and yellows. I love shapes. There are some amazing flowers out there that are very simple — the pansies — so simple. And yet, quite breathtaking when you look at them.”