The splendor of the beautiful BC coastline has nourished my life and spirit. I was born on July 1 in the little hospital by the sea in the town on Chemainus BC. My grandparents were logging pioneers of Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, and shipbuilding pioneers in New Westminster. My father was in the logging business, my mother was a nurse. The first two years of my life was spent living in float houses on Cowichan Lake and Goat Lake near Powell River. The formative five years of my life from age three to eight were spent on a float camp in Cumsewa Inlet on Haida Gwaii. The only way to get to land was to walk across plank covered logs attached by boom chains. My isolated childhood gave me time to "feed the seagulls", watch the amazing ducks, fish, and ocean shore life. and spend hours drawing and colouring. I was fascinated watching Charlie Gladstone and Tom Moody, kind Haida gentlemen, carve beautiful silver bracelets. That was the beginning of my respect for First Nations art and people, love of nature and "doing" art.
At age nine my family moved to Dundarave, a quiet seaside community in West Vancouver, This community gradually changed as the real estate investors crowded out the cottages with huge houses. I used to go to Lighthouse Park to draw the last vestiges of the massive trees that once were on the North Shore. When I moved to the Nass Valley I began to visit the places I had lived in the Northwest and realized how privileged I had been to live at a time when the BC coast was an Eden. I have sadly witnessed the abundance of this Eden seriously threatened.
I completed a two year scholarship course at the Vancouver Art School. Working on my B. Ed. at UBC, I took courses from Bob Steele and Gordon Smith. When I worked as a naturalist on Mount Seymour, I became a founding member of the Dundarave Print Studio with Wayne Eastcott and Arnold Shives. Due to my interest and concern for First Nations children and their education, my husband and I chose to move back to Northern BC to work with the Nisga'a people and teach in the Nass Valley. We first lived in the village of Aiyansh, later buying a house on the Tseax River where I have my studio. My husband Des Belton and I sponsor the "Nature for Kids" naturalist and art program in Aiyansh. We are also involved in other environmentally concerned groups, since we daily witness increasing threats to our "Beautiful BC".
Throughout the years we have lived in this peaceful place, we have maintained our intimate connection with, and love of nature. It has enabled me to develop my artistic explorations and vision. I use a variety of media; intaglio etching, lino printing, pencil crayon, paper collage, pastels, graphite, acrylic and oils. The size of my works may vary from miniatures to wall murals. My work, inspired by trees, involves intuitive interpretations using colour, texture and movement. I find great pleasure in experimentation. I also give workshops to children and adults in various media and encourage "creative confidence". As a Northwest artist, my works have been shown in Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Kitimat, Prince George, Vancouver and Victoria.
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