When Catherine Joa applied to the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s permanent collection, she thought she had been rejected.
“I don't check my mail my very often, so I kind of thought I missed the boat because I never heard anything back,” she said.
“There was an email that they had sent a sent a letter to me in the mail. So I got the email... I was surprised.”
The board purchased the Denare Beach painter’s piece, “Now that’s some easy wood right there.” The painting is part of a series based on the experience of driving in a northern community.
“All the paintings in the series are about conversations that people might have in their vehicle,” she said.
“We all have to drive. When we live in the north, we live in this fear, you will have to make that drive. And even though everybody's different, we all have that drive in common and it kind of binds us.”
Joa said the title of the painting was directly inspired by her husband, who she usually shares those long car rides with.
“This series is about taking time to think about like how beautiful it is how lucky we are,” she said.
“I usually am sitting in the passenger seat and I'm looking around thinking how beautiful this is and how great of a painting that would make. He, at that point, might say something like, ‘Now that's some easy wood right there.’ He's just thinking about very practical things.”
The canvas Joa uses for “Now that’s some easy wood right there” is tall and narrow.
“That particular shape is something that I keep going back to,” she said.
“All of the paintings in that series and in another series I did before that, they are all a similar shape. I'm working on a new one, and they’re even longer and narrower… I don't know where that came from, but I just can't seem to get away from it. I really do enjoy painting like that.”
Joa said while she painted and drew her whole life, she made the decision to promote her work recently.
“I just made the decision last year that I was going to start putting myself out there and promoting myself,” she said.
“Applying to the arts board for that was part of that process. Them writing back to me was a moment that made me feel like, ‘This is cool. I'm a real artist.’”
Joa said her show at the NorVA Centre was installed Jan. 6, and will be hosting an artist’s talk on Jan. 15. She has come up with a title, incorporating different paintings from different series, all with a central theme.
“The show will be called ‘Driving Around,’” she said.
“The series is about driving in all the different ways that inspire me. I do a lot of driving, because I live in the north and because I'm a mom and my kids are involved in sports. When I'm driving, I'm often thinking about painting.”