Recent History – 1999
Aug. 16, 1999
By Kelly Henschel, Daily News Staff
A picture is better than a thousand words. Holding an album full of copies of her watercolour paintings on her lap, Evelyn La Forge points to the intricate details of the nature scenes and old buildings.
“The pictures themselves tell about me,” she says.
The longtime Tupper resident paints from her home she shares with her husband Jim, nestled in among the trees and flowers she loves.
“I’ve always loved colour,” she says. “I was a great girl for wandering in the woods since the time I was a wee little girl.”
La Forge started painting in the early 60’s, learning from local artists such as Betty Mundy and Edna McPhail, as well as taking weekend classes every chance she got.
Now La Forge has her own solo exhibit currently being shown at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery.
The theme is Trees, based on one painting of a serene lake and treeline. The exhibit was dedicated to her sister-in-law, she says, who was the one to get her interested in painting in the first place.
La Forge says she works best under pressure when it comes to getting a painting done.
“It’s hard to get disciplined and get started,” she says, but once she does, she flies.
This year the 80-year-old artist completed 48 new pictures.
While La Forge has worked in all mediums, she loves watercolours the best, although, she adds, you can’t rub a mistake out, she adds, so she has to be flexible.
“This one was supposed to be a river, but it was going uphill, so it became a road,” she smiles, looking at a painting of a mountain and stream flowing through autumn trees.
“Some go quickly, you study, you work…You can’t tell, you can’t put any time on a painting,” she says. “You paint and hope everything will turn out, because you can’t rub it out.”
La Forge has also taught painting, and while she’s slowed down a little, she still enjoys seeing the joy painting brings to others, especially the children. She smiles as she tells the story of a little girl who fell in love with one of her paintings she was framing for her show. La Forge decided to give it to her, and hung it in the gallery with the little girl’s name on it.
When the girl saw it on opening night earlier this month, “she sat there all evening until her mom took her home,” La Forge says.
While she’s taking a break from painting at the moment, La Forge says she’s already planning for her next projects.
She’s also planning to move out of the front bedroom that presently contains her art supplies, and into a small shed in the yard that her husband is converting into a studio.
The artist says her painting abilities are a gift and she has tried to use her talents accordingly.
“I get my inspiration from God’s creation, the world,” she says. “He gave me my gift and I’ve worked on it. You can have a gift, but you have to do something about it.”
La Forge’s paintings will be on display at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery until August 28.