Carmen Gehring’s portraits speak volumes. The Parksville artist said she paints portraits because every human is a bitter sweet work in progress and that sentiment is evident on the face of each of her subjects she has painted.
On the walls of her home studio are images of the many interesting people she has met on her life’s journey.
Papa Woodstock looks like he could be a fictional character out of a some enchanted far away world, but in fact he was a person who Gehring knew when she lived in Woodstock.
A self proclaimed gypsy, Gehring spent her childhood on the Sunshine Coast. In the 1970s she moved to upstate New York and immersed herself in the Woodstock artist community.
She said the move was an important time for opening doors to self discovery, gaining confidence and self discipline.
“It helped me realize my potential as an artist and opened me up to life experiences,” she said.
Gehring moved to French Creek in 2005 where she opened a home-based studio gallery with her husband John Fischer.
A year ago her husband who was also an artist, died and Gehring admitted she needed to take a break from painting when he got sick, but now she is ready to go at it and she has been enjoying painting a variety of subjects.
“Painting is quite healing and nurturing. All my life it has helped me carry through,” she explained.
She said she paints flowers because their sacred song heals her soul and in fact painting just about anything has been quite therapeutic for Gehring throughout her life.
Gehring is self taught and although she has been pushing the brush a long time she never tires of it. The life-long artist started painting in oils at age 15 and said over the years her work has gone through many changes, just as her life has.
Gehring said her art is always growing and changing with her and her paintings take as their subject matter, the people she meets and the places she visits.
Her landscapes with driftwood covered shorelines are familiar images. The local beach scenes depict nature’s drama and each painting has it’s own mood.
She said she never stays with one subject when she paints.
“I like the diversity of life and the challenge of painting different things. Look at life around us, it is full of everything.”
You can see Gehring’s paintings at her fair-weather home studio at 863 Fishermans Circle.
The studio is open 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday or by appointment. Call 250-954-1222 if you would like to visit the studio.