From a Dublin storm to a Qualicum gallery

Barbara Botham creates captivating printing ink paintings, currently for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply

Barbara Botham’s paintings are currently hanging for sale at The Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.

Barbara Botham’s paintings are currently hanging for sale at The Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.

Barbara Botham was born painting.

She says that because of a vivd memory she has of when she was three years old, living in Dublin, Ireland. Botham awoke to a thunder storm and went downstairs to a large, empty house. Her mother had taken her new baby sister to a nearby shop, and was usually home before Botham awoke.

She dove under the dining room table, hiding beneath the long tablecloth.

“But that wasn’t helping,” she said. “I needed my paints.”

Botham knew she would have to climb up on the counter and reach a jar on the top shelf in order to get her paints. The counter was right beside an open window lit up with lightning and resounding with thunder. She was crying, she said, but she knew somehow if she got her paints she would be alright.

She reached the paints, took them back to her spot under the table, and began to paint. “I had already been painting and knew what it did for me,” she said.

“Already at three I knew what space it would put me in and it worked.”

Botham’s water-soluble printing ink paintings are currently on display at The Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply at 206 W First Ave.

At age 16, Botham got some oil paints from her parents. Her dad built her a studio, which he shared with her, and the two of them would pour over techniques and composition. Her father would do research and then teach Botham what he learned.

The family moved to Montreal when Botham was 16, and in her late 20s she moved to Vancouver. After she married, she moved to Burnaby where she had a studio, took art courses and was an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. She showed her work on Granville Island, all over the Lower Mainland and gave demonstrations in Vancouver and Burnaby.  After moving to the Island around 13 years ago, she continued to take art courses from artists and hone her craft. She is now a member of the local FCA, Arrowsmith Chapter, with which she has won several awards.

Although Botham has painted in many mediums, on a variety of subjects over the years, she is currently enamoured by water-soluble printing inks. These are inks that would be used in a printing press. She uses little rubber rollers with different colours and a variety of items for texture. This includes tin foil, string and feathers. She has to mark off areas she wants to keep white and then often uses a brush to paint on fine details.

The ink dries within a minute, so she has to be prepared with a plan and all her texturizers, once she begins to roll the ink out, she said.

“At times there I’m really sucking my breath in. It’s wonderful, exhilarating.”

Botham has a studio in Columbia Beach where people are welcome to come peruse her work and stay for tea. Call 250-752-1231 to make an appointment.

She will also be taking part in the Bowser/Deep Bay Garden tour June 23 as a feature artist, a fundraiser for the Lighthouse Community Centre. Her painting will be auctioned off at a post tour Strawberry Tea. For more info visit For more on Botham visit