For the third year running, The Brandon Sun has commissioned original art work by a talented local artist that will not only grace our front page on Dec. 24, but also serve to raise funds for a local charity through a three-week silent auction.
Last year we featured the colourful work of Curt Shoultz, and his winter image of 'Neighbours Light Our Way'. This year, Brandon artist Maria Egilsson graciously agreed to lend her talents to the project. All proceeds from our auction will once again go to The Samaritan House Ministries.
Capturing the festive season from an iconic ballet
Five graceful ballerinas hold delicate snowflake constellations as they dance among the trees and falling snow.
“Waltzing of the Snowflakes” captures the festive scene from the iconic ballet, “The Nutcracker.”
The piece is an original painting by local artist, Maria Egilsson, for The Brandon Sun’s third annual Canvas for a Cause charity auction.
Egilsson has her own unique style of painting, which she describes as figurative and impressionistic. She is drawn to people and specifically ballerinas.
“I think people have stories to tell, their faces, the positions, pieces of their life journey.”
“Waltzing of the Snowflakes” is an acrylic painting on a 16x20 canvas. It took approximately 10 hours to complete and is up for auction until 5 p.m. on Jan. 16. All proceeds go directly to Samaritan House Ministries.
To bid on the painting, visit bdnsun.ca/canvasforacause and click on one of the six yellow buttons on the right side of the page. Fill out your contact information in the form below and then hit the submit button. If you have made the winning bid, you will be contacted by either phone or by email.
You can also place a bid by emailing email@example.com with the subject line “Canvas for a Cause,” by calling 204-571-7430 during office hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday - Friday or by stopping by The Brandon Sun office at 501 Rosser Ave.
Opening up a whole new world with a paint brush
When Maria Egilsson picked up a paint brush three years ago, it opened up a whole new world.
“It was so relaxing, so peaceful, time just passed. You kind of wake up from a dream … you totally become engrossed in that,” Egilsson said while sitting in her home studio in Brandon.
“The whole environment went out of focus. It was just me and what I was painting and it was such an unusual feeling…I think I fell in love with that feeling.”
HThe newfound passion began in 2013, the same year Egilsson’s father passed away. As she had been caring for her father, she now found herself with more free time. A friend suggested she try painting, and bought her a butterfly paint set from a local book store to nudge her along.
“I spent a few days doing that and totally loved the process,” Egilsson said.
She decided to take a beginner painting class at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Recalling her first visit to the craft store, Egilsson laughs as she had no idea which supplies to buy.
It was about two classes in with artist Chris Reid, when Egilsson said she realized how much she fell in love with it. That led to another class at the gallery, and then a decision to sign up as a Fine Arts student at Brandon University. Taking a class or two every term, Egilsson is exploring her drawing and painting skills.
Reid said Egilsson’s desire to learn was evident from the start.
“She’s very, very enthusiastic and hard-working,” Reid said. “With my classes, I have them do a little bit of research and she would … go above and beyond.”
As she explored her new passion, Egilsson would post her paintings on her Facebook page. People began asking if her artwork was for sale, and she started receiving more and more requests.
At first she sent them away for free, but the requests continued to increase so she eventually began to charge.
Thanks to the power of social media, Egilsson’s artwork has now been sold all over the world. She is still amazed by the attention her work has received in such a short amount of time, and has now sold hundreds of pieces.
“If somebody had told me four years ago I would be painting or drawing, and then even selling them, I would have actually laughed because it just wasn’t a part of me,” she said. “But I think it’s all in God’s timing… I think some things in life are not a coincidence.”
It is especially heartwarming when Egilsson hears from a client how much a piece of art means to them.
“I know art can be very emotional and very subjective, what people read into it has a lot of meaning but I do feel that when the artist paints, part of their spirit and their personality comes through that art as well.”
Egilsson was born in Yorkshire, U.K. and came to Canada in the 1970s. She recalls painting as a young child, but in the intervening years, she never picked up a pencil or paint brush until 2013.
“It was like something that was restored that I think was there as a young child,” she said.
Her educational background is in early childhood education, and is now retired. She is also a poet, and facilitates a poetry workshop once a month at Valleyview Care Centre. She is currently a Fine Arts student at BU, and in her spare time volunteers at Westman Immigrant Services.
Much of her time is spent in front of a canvas. Egilsson says she doesn’t wait for inspiration, she makes a habit of regularly painting or drawing. She won’t go more than a few days without picking up a paint brush.
She now has a website for her artwork, as well as an online store zazzle.com/sacred_dance.
In addition to her original paintings, her artwork can be printed on products, such as journals, aprons, pillows and mugs. Egilsson has her artwork on display at Hillcrest Personal Care Home.
“When they sell, a percentage also goes back to Hillcrest,” she said. “It gives the residents their own art gallery to look at fresh work, but also something colourful and bright.”
» Twitter: @jillianaustin
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