Carol Reeve’s creativity knows no bounds. She creates works of life-like art with colour pencils, graphic pencils, water colours, acrylic and oil paints, sculpting materials and more.
Some of her works are commissioned and some are just for her, but since she was old enough to hold a pencil she has been constantly creating.
“I’ve never not drawn,” said Reeve, who used to teach almost every subject, including art. Her passion for art led her to pursue an art degree, which her father also encouraged her to do, but she majored in general arts so she could be a teacher.
“That kept me employed for years,” said Reeve, who only regrets not being able to teach art for longer. While at university in the late 1960s, she studied art with the Regina Group of Five. When she was not teaching, Reeve found other ways to use her artistic skills.
“I have done paid cartooning in the past,” said Reeve of the time she worked for a weekly paper in Assiniboia. “It was fun because you could make comments and it kept me up to date on what was happening.”
One piece Reeve still has, which never made it in the paper, is of former prime minister Brian Mulroney trying to teach former United States president Bill Clinton how to handle a scandal.
Reeve also cartoons people. She began cartooning people in black and white, but switched to colour when she was asked to create a cartoon portrait of a lady she described as “too colourful to do in black and white”. Ever since, she’s done them in colour.
Reeve has also developed her own style. Instead of just portraying a person’s head and maybe their body, Reeve fills in all the dead space around the cartoon of the person with images from their life and accomplishments, creating a sort of visual biography.
“People (here) don’t know I do this. They are surprised when they find out.” She said many people in Estevan, where she used to live and teach, know about her skills and that she created commissioned pieces, but that she is still largely unknown as an artist in Weyburn.
In Weyburn, Reeve has painted backdrops for Crocus 80 Theatre’s centennial production of Ed Willett’s play, “Circle the Crops”, created a commissioned sculpture and taught a class on the Munsell Colour Theory. There is still more she wants to accomplish though.
Currently, Reeve is working on painting an art collection for a juried show she hopes to enter in the spring of 2014. It is the first juried art show for Reeve and she wants to grow as an artist from the experience and gain valuable feedback. She said she is also hoping that her collection might be shown at galleries throughout the province.
Reeve’s collection for the show is based on the theme of animals and times when they inspire strong emotions in people. She chose the theme because it inspired her and she finds painting animals realistically to be even more of a challenge than portraying people true-to-life.
She also has ideas for a children’s book about turkeys and a sculptural painting about Alzheimer’s disease, which was inspired by her aunt.
With so much on the go, she said she is grateful that she has two dogs at home who force her to take breaks and give her fresh perspective on her work.
“I get so into my work,” said Reeve. “They make me stop and take a look at what’s going on.”
Just this year she began venturing from her dining room and to paint with the Signal Hill Painters and said she is enjoying the experience.
“It’s a wide range of art and a very nice group of people to work with,” she said. Some of the painters in the Signal Hill Painters are professional and others paint as a hobby, but Reeve finds the community and the work space, with big windows and lighting, to be helpful.
“I ask for feedback because sometimes you get that block and somebody else can walk right up and spot it right away.”
Reeve said she would love to make abstract art someday, but it doesn’t come naturally to her.
“I tend more to naturalistic than abstract,” she said, and described abstract art as being able to distil an entire image or concept down to something very basic and emotive. “I’m hoping sometime I can get there. I’m a little too structured still.”
During January, Reeve will have an art piece in the 30th annual James Weir People’s Choice Exhibition, on display at the Allie Griffin Art Gallery. Residents can vote for their favourites in the James Weir Exhibition, and the top three winners will be announced on Friday, Jan. 31, during a gala evening.