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Artist within emerges from grief

Richelle needed to be herself and to celebrate the women in her life just as they are.

Bold and colourful works by Richelle Treloar are displayed in the CPR Historic Centre gallery for the month of November. Each painting features women of different ages and stations in life, just being themselves, albeit in an ‘over the top’ manner. They’re fun, but there’s a message as well.

Treloar, a “self-taught artist,” has blossomed from a place of fear and doubt.

Richelle Heaman, was born and raised in the Lenore area and attended school in Virden. Richelle and husband David Treloar lived in Winnipeg for a number of years and moved to Alexander 10 years ago.

She was educated as a counsellor and worked with the Families First program. But then something happened that sent her life sideways.

“Then I lost a baby, Sophia,” says Treloar.  Depression and many dark days followed.

Out of her distress she realized she needed to break out and find a way into self-expression.

She says, “I had a lot of women, which is what inspired this collection, who lifted me out of such a dark place. It was then that I really realized that the career path I was on wasn’t for me and that if I really wanted to do this art thing, I really need to buckle down and do it.”

In a sense, this journey began when she was a school student in Virden. “Mrs. MacDonald was my art teacher in high school. She took me to my very first gallery at the Assiniboine Park Gallery. I had never seen such art up close and personal… Going to the Assiniboine Park and seeing there was other kinds of art in the world compelled me to start falling in love with art.”

During her education in Winnipeg, she began to visit art galleries and appreciate the works of others.

But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Treloar took up an art brush to begin painting abstracts, as a hobby. Portraits would come later.

“I actually only started painting portraits just over a year ago. I didn’t think I was capable of doing it, that it was something beyond me. But I started taking some sketching classes at the art gallery downtown in Brandon.”

She also did online portrait classes, and quickly progressed to the kind of portraits on show in Virden’s CPR Historic Centre gallery for the month of November.

“The point of the collection is celebrating what people see as a problem - being too angry or being too impatient, too much of yourself… all of these ‘too much’ things”

Treloar says, “We need women that are too wise beyond their years, or too dreamy. If we didn’t have women that were too dreamy, then what kind of society would we have? Kind of dull.”

She says that her best friend is one of these ‘too much’ women. “People always say to her that she’s too emotional but I think that’s the best part about her.”

She’s happy that a group of her close friends have been able to view the work handsomely hung in the Virden gallery. “People who saved me,” she says.

It has been a journey. “Sophia passed away almost 11 years ago. It took a few years for me to find myself, find my passion. There were a few years when… I was continuing to work with new mothers. It was just such a struggle, not having a child of my own and working through that. It was as if I was a shell of myself, going through the motions.”

It took Treloar several years to climb out of darkness. “Part of it was having my two boys who are six and three. Jack and McCoy.”

Some of her art is for sale. Talk to the gallery curator, Christa Milne, if you are interested in making a purchase.


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