Playful, colourful paintings line Wanda Lock’s art studio walls, from ceiling to floor. We’ve come to visit at a good time, she tells The Pear Tree when we remark about it. In a few months the walls will be bare, the artwork shipped out to show in galleries. But now, like a garden in early summer, it is all abloom.
There is an unmistakable element of primary school nostalgia in Wanda’s artwork, complete with blue lines reminiscent of a notebook and studied cursive or stamped messages.
Such “old-school” details are also evident in her studio. An old banker’s chair here, a makeshift desk created from a couple of trunks stacked one on the other, and collections of vases, jars and urns repurposed as brush, paint and pencil holders.
Wanda and her husband, Greg Buchholz, moved to their Okanagan Centre home in 1996 and built the studio, connected to the house but with it’s own, separate entrance, a year later.
She maintains several of what she calls “zones” in the creative space. The small sitting area (with the banker’s chair, above) is where she thinks things through – sometimes with a cup of coffee or a glass of beer to help her out.
“This is where I sit and hang out,” Wanda explained.
The centre island (above) is her stamping and drying zone. And just beyond it (also above) is her corner desk, by the windows, where she likes to station herself to draw.
“For me, the view is important. I need a view,” she said.
Wanda’s second-storey studio looks down over her garden, and out beyond to the lake and mountains. She points out that the sliding doors, which quizzically open to a drop-off, will one day lead to a deck.
Just a few steps from Wanda’s main work zone, she has a small station set up for her children, Thomas, age 8, and Simone, 6, to flex their artistic muscle. The drawing, above, was done by Simone. The blue trunk (above) once held Wanda’s father’s horse shoeing equipment. Wanda and Greg rescued it from her parents’ barn a few months before the barn caught fire and burnt down.
Other objects d’art were collected from yard sales, boutiques, secondhand stores and hand-me-downs from friends and family, as well as on her travels.
Wanda spends most of her mornings in the studio – except in the summer, when she’s more likely to be found down at the beach with the rest of her family. The summer months are her time to catch up on her reading, and develop artistic ideas. It’s not uncommon for her to fill four or five sketch books in that three-month period.
“Last summer a lot of UFO and cauldron shapes came up. I don’t know where they came from – they were just in my head, I guess. I think of it as a snow dome. Stuff flies around my head and as it settles I pick and choose stuff,” Wanda told The Pear Tree.
In the fall, after she empties her studio of all of the preceding year’s work, Wanda hits the studio again, drawing her ideas on large pieces of paper before applying them to canvas. She likes to work on paper first because she finds it less intimidating than canvas (which the galleries prefer).
During the winter months Wanda starts putting her ideas to canvas and her walls begin to take on their whimsical character again. The paper, on the other hand, gets stacked and banked. Every now and then, Wanda finds creative ways to unload it. One of her favourites was the time she invited a large group of friends and acquaintances round and said they could trade a bottle of wine for a paper painting.
“I got rid of 66 pages that day,” Wanda laughed.
While she likes the look of her painting-covered walls from a purely aesthetic point of view, Wanda said she really does it to give the oil paint a chance to dry, as well as to keep focussed.
“I always work in a series from January to June every year, and the works I produce need to feed off each other. The paintings need a chance to chat. So I surround myself with them,” she said.
– Story and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier