Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 16, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
8 THE 1FTHBRIDGE HFRALD Tuesday, Moy 16, 1973_____ Artist and writer turns to business STATUE OX HILL I (he lulls thai build for me A frontier singe of yesterday, rrcm ihe highest hill I read H all Of Ihc man uho passed this way. Ik- his soul on Llic valley Feeding Iiis mind on Ihc view, IU- iiiurvL'lled ;il the grazing buffalo T'nc arch ol .sky light blue. The Indian trail he read it too Their history of yesterday, And he wondered about Jus tomorrow II he mingled with their today. The virgin acres he loved tloarly His boots fell warmth in the sod, ID (lie music of the calling winds He heard (he voice of God. "This is a frontier land my son Spread your wings and give, Knead your life in its tomorrow Breath, give yourself a life to live. Take up Hie challenge to trust me Away from Hie patterned street, In this garden of untamed nature Conquer the life of defeat." He accepted Ihc challenge to build His offspring tilled the land, Bui he had been a drifting seed Until he listened to God's command My statue of man in the saddle On the hilltop he viewed H all, To the men who broke the frontier crust My men in the saddle grew tall. 1HENE McCAlT.llEll'rV 3JI72 BT MAUREEN JAMIESOX Ilrralil Staff Writer "Where do we start, with all the junk lhat I've Irene McCaupherty asked? In R cosy little room behind her shop in Fort Maclcod, rho'.ildcr to shoulder with a comfortable chiller of paints, pai'vinps, watorcolor.s, carl- of po'alo chips and stray of lohacco. li-ene talked rifcoul her varied accompli.sh- inC-lHi, The confectionery shop was originally an art si ore. Irene said. Then she rented it out "to A fellow who sold magazines. He lelt, and 1 moved in last December so the building wouldn't be vacant." In between serving custom- ers, painting occupies much of her lime and attention, but or- iginally she was a writer. "Harold Long of The Herald pave me a break with my writ- ing 1952, and so did Hugh Buchanan, only not .so much. Ana Frank Steele used to print lot of my verses in Lights find Shadows. "In 1954 "I dirt Diary of a Farmer's Wife for The Herald find in 1D5G I was writing for (he Family Herald in Montreal. I also wrote for Country Guide ftnd Canadian Cattleman'1 and other publications. .After some of her writings were published, Irene said "I found I wanted to make hook material out of them I've done several children's hooks a n d one novel that needs to be pol- ished up. "Sometimes 1 used to feel my Xvriling was a waste of lime, but then someone would say how much Ihey enjoyed it, and I'd pel all steamed up she en id. "I would like, before I'm through, to see my books fin- ished as best I can just so nobody bums them. No one else can fim.sh your work." Resentful at first of the de- mands the store made on her time, she said her attitude changed ''when I got. a chance to catch up on my reading." "I do considerable reading. Vm learning more nbnut the development of idons and ad- jectives and verbs. Having the rhop here it's rlmost as if I DJ fe'oiny to schod, and L )i c lime will come when I've got more time." At the moment, she is reading up on ''cybernetics of the mind, lo develop more." "I like to read cybcrnctics. It shows how to develop a zest of living, to pet the most out ot life every day to .study the way the mind operates. It's fascinating io inc. "I've suffered a lot of frus- tration about getting some- where to said Irene. And that is why she is now in the confectionery business. "1 had a writing room fixed up in the house we bad built, and I started painting in the basement. I painted the three, three-by-eight foot historic oils that were shown at the El Rancho there. They were burn- ed in the fire. (The El Rancho Motor Hotel in LethbrUlEe was burned in 'The lighting in the basement didn't suit me. So I sold some cows and bought an old house I was going lo make into a studio, but it wasn't right, so 1 rented it out. "I tried a room In my moth- er's house, but lhat didn't work. ''Also, I did buy an old trailer at one lime, but it makes a better snow fence than anything else. "Then I traded the old house off on this present place, and now I have a studio. I didn't like Hie lighting downstairs, so my husband put in a window upstairs. Now the lighting is good, but the ceiling is too low for a studio. "I like the Irene said. "I like working with the public. I like life, in other words. "If you take this as part of your social life, it's very enjoy- able, all hough the hours are long." The shop is open 9 a.m. lo 9 p.m., she said. "The strange thing about (his is I used to be so lonely at one time. Now I'm not. "It's wonderful that people think of you and bring you she said, enjoying the little bowl of purple crocuses m front of her which had been brought 25 miles by a customer. "And a t r i e il In town brought me a collection of lilllc china animals. I shoulder blades of horses and cows (lo on; and shells. Swihavt Irene sketches fhe rough design of the new crocus picture "The shm> luis about G5 per cent. I would ?uy, Indian Irade. They're pood customers, very nice people, and they've got a good sense of humor. ''I used lo do quite a lot of writing on ihem and there are Indir.n I pain-t on hide. I used to photograph them a lot, loo. "Indians most apprecia- tive of art." Elk hide and deer hide are brought to her stretched o squares ar.fl Iriungles, laced to branches, ready for the paint- brush. "I'd like (o do an Indi- an village .scene on said Irene, waving around a small while frame. She has no particular favorite when it comes U> painting oia- terials, ''I go in she suid. She lias worked In oil, liyp- lar (fast-drying pen and ink, walercolor and acrylic. Her pen and ink work has been used as a design for writing paper. haven't got fame here lo work in she said, "and they're too messy in the shop." Her big venture into oils was a set of iM paintings she has railed Romance of the ICach cam-as measures two hy four feet. "I started from (he time when (hy Indians used lo wnlk on fool, and did (ho killing of I he buffalo, covered wagons, burning of wagons, right lo the coniinR of the Mounlics." "I finished the set in 19G7. T v.-as four years painting them." They have already been dis- played in schools nnd in iJic li- brary in l.plhhridge. "I'd like lo display them for the Muun- ties' she said somewhat bashfully. "I'm very interested in the background history of south- ern Alberta. I worked over at the museum for three years, anil I enjoyed it very much." Irene said her interest in his- torical painting dates back to when she interviewed old- lirncrs for her articles. "I talk- ed to an old man who came in with the first cattle drive then, and 1 still pick up stories" from sons of early pioneers. and I did research fro in mounted police books. "Only one thing I regret. Being a primitive painter and untrained, I paint with a brush, I don't draw, but I think it's more important lo gel the over- all idea of continuity of story by painting "As long as I got Indians to look like Indians, horses lo look like horses, and white men to look like old-lime traders, this was all I was frying lo do. "I am an abstract painter. I've never tried portraits. I like flowers, horses in action al- ways running, galloping, play- ing. "I like to pet unusual things thai people don't see very like horses coming out of a fog or standing aguinsl the wind. "And 1 find if the snow gets three or four feel, deep, I lo paint bright colors. "The art gallery in LeUi- bridgc has invited me lo have a- show down she said. Irene is branching out into other fields, loo. "I hale all these souvenirs made in Japan. I have them in here because thov'ro the only thing you can buy." Bui at Fort Cigar Novelty, tharc is a wide choice of genuine Canadian souvenirs. Ii-cr.2 col- lects fine ctem shells Wil- low Crock, painting scenes on the inner She collects smooth, flat Fort Mac- lcod rock to varnish :ii'.d use as a base for things like small china animals and dcc'CiX She gathers and driftwood, and decorates tooled leather medallions wilh wild roses, squirrels, coyote.; She makes lumdhngs. And right now, Ircno is wait- ing for the river to go down so she can gather the kind of flat rock on which she likes lo pnint scenes. Her newest project is pebble people quaint creatures made from carefully chosen rocks, stacked and painted in I'entle caricature of people and ani- mals. "I don't know how much longer I'm going to be aMc to keep it she said ol her heclic life. "One thing about the husl- ness, it's developing so I can afford to have somebody help. Then I can work undisturbed at home for I wo or three hours day. "I just wish I could piny at this age and continue to work. Your mental altitude deter- mines your ago, you know. "I was sick for quite a while and I learned lo appreciate life more lo lake all the goodies from It. The more I lenrn, the easier it is lo lake things out of life, Irene said. "But I'd hate lo die off and leave .ill the junk thai I've got unfinished. I want lo sec il aU finished."