Balancing intensity and playfulness

Carrie Osborne paints striking acrylic abstracts and teaches painting workshops in Qualicum Beach

Carrie Osborne’s abstract paintings seen here are up for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply until this Saturday

Carrie Osborne says she paints the way she plays the piano, organically.

“I do not put an image on the canvas,” she said. “I tend to put colour on the canvas and the image comes out of the canvas for me.”

Painting is more of a process of letting go for Osborne. Sometimes she even paints in her dreams. One time she woke up with a poem in her head and thought it had to go in a painting, so it did. But she never plans out her paintings ahead of time. At least not these days.

Osborne grew up in Victoria and has been living in the area for 24 years. She has always loved to draw and paint and when she was in Kindergarten she remembers her teacher asking her if she was sure she didn’t want to do anything else but paint.

She worked in the medical field for many years, and early on in her work her attention turned to working with children and families using art as therapy. She continues that work today in a private practice.

“What  I do in therapy is, how do I get people to find their voice in a stronger way” she said. “When you paint it is  a language without words, it’s beyond words, it’s beyond language.”

Osborne use to concentrate her artwork on realism. She worked on portraiture using graphite and hardly ever worked with colour. Until one day she attended a workshop where she was told to paint big, and everything changed.

“That was really a scary thought to go big at first,” she said, “to use colour and to do things differently.”

And then a few years ago she thought she’d try acrylic and she fell for the medium, hard.

“The first time I tried acrylic I thought my head would pop off,” she joked. “I loved it.”

Today Osborne makes striking, vibrant abstract paintings. She calls them inscapes, as they reflect whatever she’s feeling inside at the time. Some of her pieces are calming blue water scenes and others are bright, bold and red.

Her studio, called Paint Life Laughing is aptly named to remind to her to maintain a balance between intensity and playfulness.

“Painting for an artist is a very solo thing, it can be a very intense thing, there’s a timelessness to it, but there’s also this incredible euphoria, for me. Paint Life Laughing is just one of those reminders to take yourself way less seriously, and have fun and enjoy the journey.”

Osborne’s acrylic abstract paintings are up for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply until Saturday, Sept 28, and they can also be found at the Island Exposures Gallery in Parksville, Smithfords in Qualicum Beach, and at the Salish Sea Market in Bowser.


Osborne teaches workshops and classes from her home studio. For more information visit her website