SALVAGE, N.L. — Patsy Janes was surprised to discover her talent for scenic painting came so naturally to her.
Her interest in the art came about as a sudden gesture to her daughter in 2011.
“My daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I said ‘Give me some paints and I’ll see if I can start something,’” Janes said.
Her initial painting of two birds resting on a tree log was the first time she had ever put brush to canvas. With whisks of white clouds, detailed flowers, mushrooms and tree bark – it showed signs of serious promise and skill.
“[Her husband] Gord said it looked pretty good, so I kept at it and painted some more,” Janes said. “I was so surprised because at the time when I asked for paints I figured well, I’ll just paint something abstract.”
What started out as something to try on a whim has now turned into an over 30-piece collection of original paintings – all made with technical and realistic attention to detail.
Most of her paintings are picturesque portraits of areas around Salvage, with wharfs, stages and lobster pots recurring motifs.
Janes paints in the fall and winter months and takes about 30 days to complete each painting, picking away at it for an hour or two each day.
Janes uses photographs as templates for all her paintings, mostly snapping photos of different homes, stages and beaches around the Salvage area. Sometimes she uses old photographs of days past as inspiration.
“This woman gave me a photo of an old home that was taken down years ago and asked if I’d paint it for her,” Janes said. “It’s never picture perfect, but it’s close as I can get.”
Janes does not try to replicate the photos, but instead uses them as the starting basis for her painting. She’ll always add different things to colour the canvas, like clothes lines, boats or birds. Janes say she’ll also take out the things she doesn’t like in the photos like power lines.
“I take so much time with each painting that if I were to work off memory it’d be changing each time I went at it,” Janes said with a laugh.
Janes mother could draw and her father had a reputation as a carver of wooden brooms. She believes she must have inherited some of her natural art abilities from them.
Her garage in Salvage is refurbished in the summer months as a makeshift art studio for Janes to display her work and offer prints to visitors. With requests from local friends and tourists, she now keeps a set of full-sized prints or small card prints of her paintings.
Last year, Janes remade the lobster pot Christmas tree built and displayed in Salvage onto a canvas and reprinted them as Christmas cards.
With the majority of the original paintings on display throughout her home, it’s clearly a hobby Janes has come to cherish.
“It’s very peaceful,” she said. “And I like the result once it’s finished.”