They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And nestled into a corner of Liz Van Golen’s kitchen (formerly Liz Woodside) is a little art studio – if not the heart beat than certainly an important artery for her life and home.
Liz, who married recently and chose to go back to her maiden name, started making art in 1995. Her distinctive style mixes calligraphy with watercolour or acrylic paints, and ranges from cards to business logos to framed artwork .
She lives on the heritage-heavy Abbott Street and says she can put up with little quirks such as worn and gauged floors in order to feed her love of old things.
While Liz has a larger room up stairs that she uses to store a lot of her art supplies, she prefers her kitchen nook for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, she suffers from arthritis and tries to avoid the stairs. But even if that wasn’t a deterrent, Liz says there’s something about working where she does that just feels right.
“I like the kitchen. I can make a cup of tea and it’s right there. It’s comfortable, and I can use the cupboards and counter tops as art props for large canvasses and other bigger projects.”
The little space is full to brimming with books, brushes, pens and little bottles of ink, favourite photos and sentimental keepsakes.
While Liz’s bookshelves hold a variety of tomes, from art and calligraphy books to gardening books and cookbooks, there is a larger than average number of dictionaries in her collection. As a calligrapher, she finds that just the right wording of a definition, paired with an appropriate font, can make a painting.
Prior to becoming an artist, Liz studied Art in Merchandising at Langara College in Vancouver, and Interior Design at the former Okanagan University College.
In her artist statement, Liz said, “Art allows me to experience the mystery of life. It becomes a communication vehicle for my spirit.”
About a year ago, Liz was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and took some time off from art to focus on treatment. She’s just recently picked up her brushes again, and is feeling once again inspired.
In addition to putting pens and brushes to paper for herself once again, Liz will also be teaching a weekend watercolour workshop next month at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Some of her work is currently on show at her daughter, Alyssa Woodside’s, downtown gallery, A Woodside Design Gallery.
– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier