I remember the first time I celebrated International Women’s Day. I was in my third year at McMaster University in 1989 and was taking Women in Fiction. It was here that I began to understand and connect ideas conveyed in women’s writing as similar to my experience making art. I started to recognize that my innate intuitive approach to art making had connections to themes expressed in women’s literature. (I am now making a note to write more on that soon.) Through this class, I heard about International Women’s Day and went to my first celebration. It felt amazing to be in the room with a diversity of amazing and powerful women.
Now in 2017 I still feel a strong connection to the deep roots of my feminine heritage and continue to honour and celebrate it through my artwork. I have had the privilege for two years now, to create an image for Inspiring Women in Huron, an annual event that honours women in my community of Huron County. After reading the nomination information on each woman, I draw and then paint an image that reflects elements of their lives with my own intuitive elements added in. The images are vibrant and full of colour and contain a feeling of rising energy. I assemble them in a grid format like a quilt to connect the women in community. At the event, each nominee receives a signed and numbered fine art giclee print of the original artwork printed at Elizabeth’s Art Gallery. Coincidentally, Elizabeth Van den Broeck was a nominee and selected as this year’s winner of the inspiring women over 30 category. Along with the print, I include a map that gives words to each woman’s image.
These women are active, on the move, inspiring others, and like the Rainbow Love Quilt, bring colour and love to their communities. Everyone’s story is remarkable, unique and connected to the heart. It is an honour to be able to share and transform these women’s stories into a work of art.