Sarnia artist Cathy Earle wants the paintings she creates of flowers and birds to be more than aesthetically pleasing.
She also wants them to be provocative and generate discussion about preserving the planet and saving endangered species.
“I am inspired by the beauty of nature but I’m also very concerned about the changes we’re seeing in the climate,” she says.
“This is the perfect time to spread awareness about giving back rather than taking all the time.”
That’s the reason her upcoming show “A Delicate Balance” features birds and plants that are facing habitat loss. Several are at risk because mankind is thoughtlessly wiping out forests and marshland.
“Most people who look at my paintings say there is a lot to look at. I like to think each one tells a story,” said Earle. “In this case, I thought why not make it something with a cause?”
She grew up in Corunna and has painted since high school. Earle studied art fundamentals at Lambton College, learned illustration at Sheridan and earned a fine arts degree at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto.
She has painted prolifically since, with numerous shows in Port Hope, Whitby, Toronto and Sarnia.
Retirement in 2017 from Canada Post has meant more time with her watercolours, more shows and more exposure.
“I’ve built a really good following,” Earle said. “When people think of purchasing art, I want my name to be among the list that comes to mind.”
She finds it very satisfying when a painting sells and finds a new home.
“I love knowing that my art will be in a place where a family will remember it and memories will be made.”
“A Delicate Balance” features 13 paintings that will be on display in the Turret Room of the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts Sept. 6 – 28.
Most depict endangered species such as the barn owl, the whooping crane, the prothonotary warbler and the Great Blue Heron.
Earle did her homework as she chose to paint each one, researching the challenges the birds face and why.
She incorporated large circles into most of her work for this show. They are symbolic of the world each bird depends on for food and nesting, Earle said.
For instance, she chose to paint the barn owl crouching over two small mice that are encircled in an underground tunnel.
One obvious departure is a patterned rendering of American chestnut tree leaves that fits the show because the tree is on the endangered list in Ontario. An Asian blight is to blame for its dwindling numbers.
Earle’s research also found a recovery strategy for planting American chestnuts and she’s anxious to share that information.
Earle will be at her show’s opening on First Friday, Sept. 6 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
All pieces in the show are on sale ranging in price from $600 to $1,200, depending on size.
All are framed and most measure 30” X 38” or bigger.
On top of her upcoming show, Earle will also start her fall session of introductory watercolour classes in September at the Lawrence House. Contact Earle to register by calling 519-331-6197 or [email protected].
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: A Delicate Balance, a new exhibition by Cathy Earle featuring birds, flower and endangered species.
WHERE: The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts. 127 S. Christina St.
WHEN: Sept. 6 – 28.
The Arts Journal welcomes your story suggestions. Contact [email protected].