“I love the outdoors. My paintings are a visual journal of my adventures. They reflect the places I have been and the beauty I have seen. I am drawn by the light, colour and movement in the subjects and scenes I choose. I have been creating for as long as I can remember. My hope is that my art will inspire others to want to create too.” Linda Lovisa
I had a dream. Sometimes you just have to follow your dreams, even against all odds. That is exactly what I did. I opened New Moon Gallery in November of 2009. I was advised it might not be a good time to open a new business; the economy was spiralling downwards at the time. My heart was telling me differently.
I had very big plans for New Moon Gallery. It was exciting! It would be a place to teach and to create works of art. It would also be somewhere to showcase and celebrate art, a creative space for artists to show and share their work with a community that had no art centre. I did just that! It was unique and special.
It began in a small space at Paynter’s Market, then it moved to Dobbin Road, and finally to its 2000 square foot space on Byland Road. Those ten and a half years were both the best of times and the worst of times, but I never gave up. At the end of the day, while closing the door, I would look back into this inspiring place and smile. “This is a good place!” I would say. I always had more to do and share. My students, adults and after-school children, were a huge part of my mission: sharing the joy of creating with as many people as I could. Sharing the joy of seeing the world around us was my passion that kept the gallery alive. It was my determination that was the driving force in trying to instill in a community that the arts are an important part of healthy living. It is in times of need that the arts can be a big part of healing. I have lived this first-hand, and I have seen it for myself over the 25+ years I have been teaching. I am not just talking about visual arts; I mean all art forms. At the gallery there was live music; there were live performances, poetry readings and artists’ talks by those working in different media. I tried as much as possible to include various types of art forms in the gallery so that when you entered its doors you were amazed. I wanted the public to feel at home in its inviting environment. I wanted them to know that they could come anytime for a tea or a coffee to talk about art and to enjoy the ambiance. It was a place to educate others about artists: What it takes to become an artist. How each artist pours heart and soul into what they do. Sharing my love of the arts was my joy. I was living my dream every day. On April 30, 2020, New Moon Gallery closed its doors for the last time.
May 1, 2020, a new day, a new beginning and new direction. I was still reeling over the closure of the gallery, but I had an unusual saviour to keep me smiling and thinking about the future.
On December 26, 2019, a goose was born. It all came about in an interesting way. I had the most amazing Christmas at the gallery, and the new year was looking very good. Our Christmas with family and friends was full of love and thankfulness. All of the celebrating had occurred and Boxing Day was a quiet day at home. I had not painted in weeks as the gallery was busy, so there was very little time to create. I was so excited finally to sit down and paint. My son and I had a conversation about doing some cards for the gift shop at Big White Ski Resort. He lives up there and he had spoken to the shop manager; she welcomed the idea. I thought about doing my usual winter watercolours, but on that day I was feeling especially playful and thought about a Canada Goose on skis! I had so much fun creating the four images. I shared them with my son, he laughed out loud and said, “Mom, there is a story there.” I shared the images with friends and they said the same thing. So, how does a Canada Goose end up skiing? What’s his name? It was like naming a child. My husband and I thought it had to be a G name or a C name. The search began, and Gordon the Canada Goose was born.
The story begins: Gordon lives in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. There are vineyards, orchards and small farms all around Lake Okanagan. The farmers are busy harvesting fruits and vegetables. Fall is in the air; leaves are changing colour and Gordon is very excited about the journey south.
The first colourful page shows the valley with vines and orchards in the foreground and a snowy mountain in the distance. The page is bordered with fruits and vegetables, which are planned to strike a conversation with the young listener or reader. Creating the story was so much fun. I used some skiing experiences that most people have when they learn to ski. One thing led to another, and the next thing you know there are 58 paintings and a story that is entertaining. The prototype was ready to pick up at the printer’s on the eighth of May, 2020. I was so excited to see the book, to feel the book and leaf through the pages. I was in tears. There was so much emotion. I could not believe I had created this children’s book. I could hardly wait to share it. I had so many more stories to tell. So, the book “Gordon Goes Skiing” is the first in a series of books under the name of The Adventures of Gordon the Canada Goose. I am currently writing and illustrating book two of The Adventures of Gordon the Canada Goose. In the story Gordon and his friend Marty head up Carrot Mountain to see if there are carrots on Carrot Mountain.
I also published a second book in October 2020. I had written a winter poem years ago that I had always wanted to illustrate, so I busied myself creating the images for Winter Came Softly. It was released just in time for Christmas. It is a completely different book than the Gordon book.
I find it hard to believe that I have been creating for 50 years. I still have so much to do. I truly believe I will be creating on the way to my grave (laughing out loud). Currently, I am continuing my virtual teaching with adults via Zoom as well as in-person outdoor sessions with my after-school students. I am painting a series in acrylics, continuing to create with watercolour and am writing two more books. Do I miss my gallery? Yes, I do. I miss the people and their art. I miss art lovers. Will I open another gallery? Not likely, I lived that dream. Now I’m on to the next dream. The creative mind never really stops. What is the next idea? How do I create that? As an artist I am always learning. Nothing is perfect in our world. There is always something to strive for. All it takes is one step. It just takes the will to try something new. Let the arts excite you and bring you joy. Create for you first – that has always been my motto. I am so happy that I have art in my life
This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of Sage-Ing.