In advance of Artbeat Studio’s 24-Hour Art-a-thon Feb 6 to 7, CNC profiles the artists participating in this event that is raising funds for Artbeat Studio, an organization supporting artists with mental illness. Click here to read the other profiles.
“Twelve colours just weren’t enough,” says Kathleen Crosby about her first paint set. “I saw the kids with 64 colours–and thought ‘I want all the colours’!”
Crosby eventually came up with a way to solve her paint palate’s problem–and that was mixing the colours together.
“I was excited about mixing colours,” says Crosby, who found comfort in the work.
“For me, I went to a place where I wasn’t worried about things that were too hard to think about.”
Crosby had a difficult childhood growing up. She says she lived in an alcoholic home and was often ridiculed. She escaped by finding enjoyment in art.
In art class, painting was her favourite medium. Crosby says she asked her art teacher everyday whether they were going to paint.
“We would learn other things: drawing, perspective, but painting was the only thing I was really passionate about.”
One day, Crosby says, she asked him if they would be painting and instead of saying “no”, the answer turned out to be much more devastating.
“He said: ‘I don’t think we are going to be painting this term’.”
For Crosby, she couldn’t hide her disappointment, but perhaps her art teacher could tell because the next week, at the beginning of art class, he brought her to the back of the classroom to show her a blank canvas set up on an easel with brushes and paint.
“He was letting me paint as everyone else learned the lesson.”
Being an artist didn’t stop in high school for Crosby. When her anxiety was bad, and she wasn’t able to leave the house, she found an ad for Artbeat Studio.
“I remember thinking, [after] reading the ad, that that was me!”
Crosby entered Artbeat’s residency program in 2007, and remembered how warm and welcoming Nigel Bart (Studio Facilitator) and Lucille Bart (Executive Director) were. She also remembers being very happy to receive the studio at the back, which is the largest and has the most natural light.
After leaving Artbeat Studio, Crosby has continued painting and planning her next move. She has a studio space in the Exchange that she shares with another artist and has her artwork hung up around Winnipeg.
“I can connect with people now,” says Crosby. “Through my art and through my paintings. Before that, I didn’t have the words to say or connect with people.”
Kathleen Crosby is one of seven Artbeat Studio alumni participating in the 24-Hour Art-a-thon from Feb. 6-7, 2014 beginning at 5 p.m. The 24-Hour Art-a-thon is an event to raise money for Artbeat Studio’s endowment fund, which supports its core-programming. To support Kathleen and Artbeat Studio, please visit The Winnipeg Foundation’s website to donate online.