He’s a retired teacher, she’s a retired nurse. Both are using their freedom to make absolutely anything they can imagine and reveling in the joy of creativity.
Ron Kalinchuk, a former Virden teacher, and his sister Dianna Kalinchuk, a former nurse from Saskatoon, are showing their artwork in a joint exhibit at the CPR Historic Centre gallery during July.
Ron’s work is a type of magic realism done with photographs and editing software. It starts with layering several digital images (once called multiple exposures) and then enhancing them with embellishments like backgrounds, textures, tones, special filters and more.
Neither sibling has formal art education although Ron is always learning new techniques by taking online courses and entering contests.
After creating, their second greatest joy comes from parting with their darlings.
Ron keeps his prices reasonable because he can!
“It’s hard to fit the starving artist profile when you’re retired with a nice pension,” he laughs. Selling a piece is still a kick.
“I make what I want. If somebody likes it, bonus. If someone buys it, double bonus.” On the day of their Arts Mosaic reception, a visitor bought an Alex Colville-esque framed print for $30.
Dianna loves nothing better than giving away her sculptures and mixed media canvases to family and friends. “She’s very generous,” says proud big brother.
In the genes
The siblings agree their artistic flare runs in the family. Mom Maria did oil painting and sewed beautiful clothing.
“Our mom was a gardener too,” says Dianna. “She knew how to use colour and texture.”
There was also an aunt who painted flowers on the whitewashed walls of her house, several cousins who became artists, and a grandmother who lived her art every day.
“See that [paverpol] girl in the corner? She’s my creation but I was influenced by my grandma coming in from the garden wearing a hat and her apron full of peas.”
“The ideas just come to me. I never know what I’m going to create next,” she says.
Both artists are quick to correct any admirers who claim to have no artistic talent.
Ron says, “It just isn’t true. My teacher always said you can’t wait for your muse to strike. You have to work, work, work, and then you may get inspired.
“Not everything you do will turn out. Out of 30,000 photos I have at home, there are only 25 or so here on display. But if you work hard at your craft, it will be worthwhile.”
The Kalinchuks’ exhibit continues at the gallery until the end of July. Check the website or Facebook for the gallery’s opening hours which may fluctuate over the summer.