Eileen Hopkins surrounded herself from a young age with books and poetry; crayons and poster paint. Her creative energy launched many imaginary adventures though the back lanes of her small home town in the village of Glenboro, Manitoba which fuelled her writing and painting. She grew up in a bakeshop and was mesmerized by her mother’s cake decorating skills and her father’s breads crafted to perfection. A small town girl, the beauty of the invisible vignettes in yards, along streets and in the back lanes enhanced her childhood and now permanently reside in Eileen’s art. The lines and colours of the prairie skies kept her head in the clouds and her eyes on the nooks and crannies of her small world. This is what she captures in her on-going art practice morphing from her prairie roots to the Okanagan Valley and beyond.
Eileen pursued a career in post-secondary education, working with aboriginal students and others at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta. Here she fed her creative soul with photography and journalism courses. Her eye learned to zone in on the magnificent in even the smallest piece of architecture. It was a world she believed she would embrace fully on retirement only to find herself with paintbrushes in hand instead of the expected pen and camera. Since that day in 2014, she has attended multiple workshops with well-known artists in the Okanagan, established mentor-relationships to learn the theory behind the craft and then, gave herself permission to play and splash colours and paint to capture her world on canvas. She is a Supporting Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and actively shows with the South Okanagan Chapter.
My art is how my heart sees the world. I observe the beauty – real or potential - of even the darkest corner of a city and inject my own wishes and desires into that abandoned alley or garbage-bin mecca of a back lane. Other times it is how the colours of the landscape resonate or the whiff of pine or fresh bread baking rekindle memories of life. The light embellishes the moment and I take up my art tools and create a painting that speaks about that moment for me weaving the memories of the past into the present. The joy of a piece moves through the process and right into the second when someone else’s heart is touched and the painting moves to another’s world.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”