Imagine you are a visual artist and in the prime of your career you become blind. That was the incredible challenge facing one Manitoba woman, who has fought long and hard to regain her sight and re-establish herself as a popular artist.
Wendy Provins was born with a genetic disorder called Marfan Syndrome, which affects all connective tissue in the body. Her journey started 9 years ago when the ligaments holding the lens in place in her eye broke and the lens drifted. She had to take two years off work. After returning to work, the retina in her left eye detached. She has had five surgeries in her right eye and one in her left eye.
Shortly after her last surgery, she made a painting of the very large floaters that she saw. Floaters are the little black spots and shapes that people see floating across their eyes. Since then she has fully recovered and has created some pretty wonderful art.
Her main medium is abstract acrylics but she also does watercolours. Some of her early works were fridge magnets which seemed to be practical for her with her vision problems. Misericordia Hospital commissioned her to make 200 fridge magnets to give to their volunteers.
Recently, Gallery 415 at 415 St Anne’s Road had an open house / good bye / send off for Provins featuring her work.
Originally from Flin Flon, Provins has lived in Winnipeg for the past 11 years. Now, she and her husband have decided to move to Keremeos, BC at the end of April and her friend, Heather Gregory, who owns Gallery 415, offered the gallery to Provins for a two day show. Despite bad weather the first day, quite a few people still showed up. There was also a good turnout on the second day. The soon-to-be-moving artist sold a fair number of her paintings. Owls, circles and birch trees are popular themes in her work.
Provins was overwhelmed with the impressive turnout to her show and she thanked everyone who came out.
After raising three daughters and residing in various parts of Canada as well as a four year stint in Australia, Provins has called Winnipeg home for the past decade.
When she and her husband Dave relocate to Keremeos, BC at the end of this month, she plans to concentrate on painting full time.
It wasn’t until a few years ago after suffering serious vision problems due to the genetic disorder, Marfan Syndrome, that Provins rekindled her passion for watercolours. After undergoing several eye surgeries, she utilized the recovery periods to enhance skills previously obtained through self learning as well as water colour courses in Ontario, Australia and Manitoba.
For the past two years, Wendy Provins has taken her art in a different direction, painting mainly acrylic abstracts. Her birch trees have become very popular.
Currently, Wendy Provins’ works can be found at the Wayne Arthur Gallery, Gallery 415, the Oakwood Cafe, Finales, the Misericordia Hospital Gift Shop in Winnipeg, Fort Whyte Alive, as well as The Orange Toad and Rocky View Lodge in Flin Flon, Manitoba. Provins is always happy to welcome guests to her home to view her work.
Many of her paintings reflect her love of the rugged beauty of Northern Manitoba.
Many Manitobans will miss Wendy Provins and wish her the very best in her new life on the west coast.
If you are interested in contacting Wendy Provins, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 204-255-6044.
All photos by Doug Kretchmer