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North provides inspiration for painter Duncalfe

Eila Duncalfe’s paintings are back in a northern exhibition - and it’s been a long time coming. The Flin Flon artist’s work will be on display in The Pas, her first exhibition in years.
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Eila Duncalfe shows off some of her paintings at her Flin Flon home. Duncalfe’s paintings are now on exhibition at the Sam Waller Museum in The Pas until Sept. 27. - PHOTO BY ERIC WESTHAVER

Eila Duncalfe’s paintings are back in a northern exhibition - and it’s been a long time coming.

The Flin Flon artist’s work will be on display in The Pas, her first exhibition in years. The exhibition, called “Genuine Raw Inspiration; The Artwork of Eila Duncalfe”, was slated to open to the public June 7.

Duncalfe first took up painting in 2002 - while she always had an interest in art, she never had the chance to pursue it as a hobby until after her kids grew up.

“I was already past 50 years of age when I started painting - it was after the kids left home and I had some time on my hands,” she said.

“I had a fair bit of time on my hands when I started and just kept trying to improve my work.”

Since picking up the brushes in earnest, Duncalfe has been drawn to familiar western Canadian imagery - the prairie grain elevator, the old family home, wildlife, images of mining and bush planes, landscapes.

“I do landscapes and wildlife basically. I do like to do old homes and elevators - I got into trains, I did quite a few paintings of airplanes. I started out doing that because I had one of the old pilots who wanted a painting back when he worked out here. That started a run - I did eight or nine paintings of planes from around the area,” said Duncalfe.

“I keep pretty busy at it.”

In the past, Duncalfe has donated her paintings to local causes - school sports, graduation ceremonies and the like - but she hasn’t had a full art exhibition in well over a decade. Her art was shown in spaces in Thompson and The Pas over a decade ago, but Duncalfe hasn’t exhibited much work since. She received a first place in her class at the Northern Saskatchewan Adjudicated Art Show in 2013.

The pandemic has provided time for Duncalfe to paint more. With little going on in the world at large and people spending most of their time at home, Duncalfe has had the chance to paint more than before.

“It’s been a perfect pastime for being at home with COVID-19 going on. It certainly helps pass the time,” she said.

“I think anybody interested in visual arts would certainly be interested in my work. I paint nature - it’s more local artwork.”

About 30 of Duncalfe’s paintings are a part of the exhibition. The exhibit is now closed due to COVID-19 and related health orders, but will be up until Sept. 27 once it reopens. Several of Duncalfe's paintings have been featured on the museum's Facebook page as a virtual exhibit.