The Gypsy Wish Art Show

Barb Widger’s bold and colourful art adorns the C.P.R. Historic Centre until Nov. 28.

At the artist’s reception, Nov. 2 in the Historic Centre, Widger explained the Gypsy soul behind some of her lively art.

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Born and raised on a family farm in Alberta, she met Don Widger while hitchhiking across Canada. As a new bride she moved to Virden in 1973. Since then Widger has lived in Flin Flon, The Pas and Elkhorn, only to return to Virden in the year 2000.

Coming into the C.P.R. Centre you pass by Widger’s “Gypsy Wish Art Show& Sale” sign. Instantly striking within the gallery is a watercolour mountain sheep whose curious gaze follows you.

A great big colourful cow displayed in the next room is part of an online auction in support of a bull rider who suffered a spinal cord injury. JR & Shelby Vezain Aid at

But there’s more gypsy about Widger that her love of colour and a mishmash of art styles. She loves to travel – sometimes even by foot.

Upon studying the shells and stones inlaid on a grand scale piece of seahorse art, Widger points to a large, central shell.

“So this shell came from my first Camino de Santiago,” she says.  

Camino De Santiago is known in English as the Way of Saint James. This walk originated as a pilgrimage leading to the shrine of the Apostle James. Widger explains further, “You walk 800 kms from the south of France to Santiago, Spain. You get a shell to take with you. So this was my first shell.”

The seahorse is adorned with sea glass and items from her travels around the world.

“Mostly things I’ve brought from far away.”

Mixed media is abundant, along with pieces of furniture that she has painted in gypsy art style.

Widger’s son Randy also blends his artistic bent with furniture up-dos. He has several pieces in the gallery.

Barb’s husband Don displays a couple of craft creations as well.

“Aren’t they cute?” says Widger as we examine Mildred the Moose, once the tines of a rake, golf clubs and a cheese grater. Yes, Mildred is cute and a coat rack created from old style hand drills is funky and functional.

Next month - Christmas Market is in the C.P.R. Historic Centre.

© Virden Empire-Advance