Don't mess with a soprano  

Life exposed as art

A lifetime of work, 315 paintings in storage, a business closed, the future inky. Most people would give up at this point.

Linda Lovisa is made of sterner stuff. This is not an ending, but a hovering place waiting for transformation.

Linda loves winter, which comes naturally — she was born during a fierce winter storm in Hull, Que.

She grew up in a Canadian Air Force family and travelled the world at an early age. She lived in Germany, France, and even in a tent city in Belgium while waiting for the base to be built.

“I spent the day painting and catching lizards with friends.”

The family moved back to Bagotville, Que., when she was eight.

A constant during this time was her art. Her grandfather had given her a gift of five primary colour oil paints.

She would send photos of her art to him. Dogs and horses were her only subjects until he suggested painting a landscape. She has been painting landscapes ever since.

“Art was my mental health and kept me on an even keel,” she said. “There were so many moves, it was the one stable thing in my life.”

Linda was the type of child that turned the paint by number kits over and used the canvas for her own thing. No corralling this artistic spirit.

She always thought she would be a painter. Her high school career counsellor told her she needed a real profession. She liked flowers, so she became a florist.

Life continued, she married, had two sons, moved to the Ottawa Valley, where she met Pierrette Delude Bohay.

Linda saw a woman painting on her porch and struck up a conversation with Pierrette, a well-known water colourist and a full-time artist.

She asked Pierrette to critique her paintings, and got a life lesson that has motivated her ever since. “Whatever you do, don’t stop painting.”

She moved to Fort Frances, a tiny town, but a wonderful place to grow as a mom and artist. She started teaching for the Royal Conservatory of Canada’s Learning Through Arts program until the funding ran out.

Fourteen years ago, she made the difficult decision to move to the Okanagan to be closer to her children. It was a turbulent time, personally and professionally. She didn’t fit in here, at least not in those days.

She returned to her plants. She worked in the fields at Quail’s Gate Winery for four years. Working and sweating is medicine for the soul. “I came to life during that time.”

In 2009, she opened New Moon Gallery in West Kelowna until COVID closed its doors in 2020.

Winter, nature, Group of Seven, and the Impressionists are her muses. She is a direct painter — she doesn’t premix her colours on a palette, but uses the canvas for her palette.

Until she was 18, she only used five colours, blue, red, yellow, black, and white. After 18, she dared to use all the colours, every single one of the premixed colours.

In 1997, Linda felt her painting had lost its’ spark. She stripped the many colours and went back to:

  • 3 Reds
  • 3 Blues
  • 3 yellows
  • 1 white

Notice no black! She agrees with Monet who believed in creating his own dark colours and never using black. When he died, his friend, Georges Clemenceau would not allow a black sheet to be put on his coffin.

“No! No black for Monet.” His coffin was covered with a flowered sheet.

Linda says that combining ultramarine blue and pyrrole crimson make “the most gorgeous violet you can find, something really dark."

COVID shut down her gallery and left 52 local artists without a place to show their art, but something unexpected and exciting happened.

She found she now had time to write and illustrate. Gordon, the Canadian goose was born.

A very unlikely hero emerged — the adventuresome, loveable Gordon whose family didn’t go south for winter, so he decided to learn to ski.

This story, with many sequels planned, became the book, The Adventures of Gordon the Canada Goose.

A real life size Gordon came into being with the help of friend and artist, Annabel Stanley. If you are lucky, you may see him skiing at Big White.

Along with Gordon, Linda’s adventures continue.

She was one of only three Canadian artists to be chosen for the International Art Market show in Paris. It was postponed due to the Global close-down.

Plans for a show of 21 of her paintings are being finalized for 2021.

She teaches weekly adults and children at the West Kelowna Yacht club and hopes to open a studio soon.

It takes a lot more than a pandemic to keep Linda down.

She will find a home for the contents of Storage Bin 1133, will relish her hikes in the forest, welcome new adventures, and above all, keep painting.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Don't mess with a soprano articles

About the Author

Sue Skinner is a singer of opera and musical theatre, a choral conductor and a teacher/coach of voice. 

She has travelled the world, learned many languages, seen every little town in Alberta and supported herself with music all her life.

She has sung at weddings, funerals, musicals, operettas, opera, with symphonies, guitars, jazz groups, rock bands and at play schools. 

Skinner has taken two choirs to Carnegie Hall, sung around the world, and teaches for Wentworth Music on Zoom.

[email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories