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A day without paint is not a day, says qathet region artist

Anndreyea Kylo satisfies passion with painting
PAINTING PASSION: Artist Anndreyea Kylo, whose collection includes totem poles, ravens and eagles, says as long as she is breathing, she will be painting.

“I paint a little bit, almost every day.”

Local artist Anndreyea Kylo’s favourite painting time is the afternoon. Sometimes her hungry husband comes searching for her when he notices she has not come up from her studio to make dinner at the expected time.

Kylo first came to Powell River when she was 19 and soon married a local man. She and her husband resided here until middle age, when they moved to Ontario to attend to her aging mother.

Afterward they moved to Comox, before returning to live in Powell River four years ago. They both craved the quieter lifestyle they associated with their former time in the qathet region.

Kylo started painting 20 years ago in her early 50s. She had wanted to paint since attending high school but never seemed to get the chance, as her time was split between raising children and holding down jobs. Eventually she had time for herself; she took a couple of painting classes in Courtenay while still living in Comox.

“I just said to myself, ‘no more! I am doing this,'” she said. “Painting is a passion and now I can’t stop. If I had the chance, I would get up at 4:30 in the morning to paint.”

Mostly, the circumstances of life conspire against this desire. She smiles and points to a heron painting displayed on her fence.

“He was painted at 4:30 in the morning, in my pyjamas.”

Kylo is resolute about her process after receiving inspiration.

“I have to put it on a canvas - if I don’t, I get a little irritable.”

Kylo spends time in meditation before she approaches the canvas. She shares about a recent work titled the Rainbow Eagle, where she felt led to explore certain colours inspired by her heritage.

The concept involved “my native background with the colours and the eagle. And when I got it done, it was like, yah - he is right, the wise one.”

Kylo shares that her father was half Native American, specifically Ojibwe, but living in Ontario. She was brought up with a lot of spiritual beliefs from her father.

“It hasn’t left me,” she said. “That is why I do a lot of native art.”

Her collection includes huge totem poles, ravens and eagles. Recently as she was finishing setting up for her outdoor show, a raven came and sat up on the fence above three of her raven paintings displayed together. She shares that her father has passed on but when that raven came and sat on the fence above the paintings, it suddenly came to her that it was a message from her dad.

“It felt like my dad gave his approval of what I was doing, and it is real in me.”

Kylo said she values her father’s teachings.

“They are a part of me, part of my spirituality,” she added. “And the other part of me is born-again Christian. The two sides, they fight in me sometimes. But they don’t have too. It is all the same Creator and universe. We are all one.”

Serious painter

After initially taking painting lessons in her 50s, she was not able to seriously pursue her art. She started painting again three years ago at the age of 70.

“Before it was like, oh well, this month if I have some time maybe...I will paint. But I am a serious painter now and I paint every day.”

She notes that there is a shift when you mature in your art; when younger she was without formal training.

She said she sometimes went the hard way and wonders if becoming an artist could have been easier. She taught herself important lessons about colour and paint, such as placing yellow tones first, adding the darker brown tones later, like on the Rainbow Eagle.

She likes acrylic because “I am too impatient waiting for things to dry. I can’t stand around waiting for oil to dry.”

Kylo is 73 and hopes to paint for at least another 10 years.

“As long as I am breathing, I will be painting,” she said, adding that people are never too old to become an artist.

“People shouldn’t think that age stops creativity,” said Kylo. “If it is in you and you want to do it, go for it. If I had stopped because I was a senior, I would have never done this.”

She is thankful to be retired and able to give her whole self to her art.

“Even my husband said to me, ‘I didn’t know you would spend so much time painting,’” she explained. “I can’t help it. A day without paint is not a day.”

Kylo is excited to share her art with the public. She has art in a couple of locations in town, Dr. Botha’s office is one example.

“I looked at his blank wall during my appointment then said, ‘Dr Botha, do you know what a blank wall does to an artist?’”

He laughed but accepted her offer to hang a painting in his office.

Kylo believes providing beauty to reflect on in a medical setting lessens anxiety making for a better visit. She added that it helps to feature recognizable local scenes so the viewer can say, “Oh, I recognize that,” engendering a feeling of calm familiarity.

Dr. Botha’s admin staff have let Kylo know that the patients love it, in reference to her painting. She is willing to share more of her art in local professional settings. 

Kylo has a private garden showing, including some of her largest canvases, on Saturday, June 3, from 2 to 6 pm, by invitation only. However, she welcomes individuals to contact her directly at 250.650.3022 to arrange an alternate time to visit her studio.