Brenda McKenzie – Focus on Local Artists – Issue #8

December 2012

Brenda McKenzie

Brenda McKenzie

For December, Winnipeg River Arts Council features Pinawa artist/author, Brenda McKenzie. After a Christmas gift of a paint-by-number kit sparked her interest in painting, McKenzie’s Grade 9 art teacher, John Eisler, encouraged her to take youth classes at Winnipeg Art Gallery. Later, she enrolled in University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Interior Design, where she learned about design, composition, value work, and colour, under the tutelage of Grant Marshall and Harry Adaskin.

In 1971, newly married, McKenzie arrived in Pinawa, took art lessons with Vivian Thomson, and learned water colour and oil painting techniques. Presently, her repertoire also includes graphite work, pen and ink, and mixed media – using inks, coloured pencil and water-based media. When Thomson retired from the Whiteshell School District, McKenzie replaced her in the school’s art program.

Five decades after that first kit, McKenzie continues to produce landscapes but recent creations include portraits and still life. She sells her work at Eastern Manitoba Artists’ Collective and Pinawa Art 211 shows. It is displayed at the Cre8ery Gallery (Winnipeg) and Gwen Fox Gallery (Selkirk). The Parish of St. Francis (Pinawa) commissioned her to do a painting of their new church, displayed at Sobering Funeral Chapel (Beausejour). Recently, she illustrated a local author’s cookbook and has started pencil drawings for a book on World War II London.

After Mckenzie retired in 2004, she wrote a novel, Loving You, based on her family’s experience of Alzheimer’s disease and the resulting three year wait for her mother-in-law’s placement. The book can be purchased at “Uniquely Pinawa” (Pinawa), Ingham’s Pharmacy (Lac du Bonnet), Pharmasave (Beausejour), Blaines Books, Movies and Music Store (Selkirk Plaza Mall), and McNally Robinson and Coles in Kildonan Place and City Centre (Winnipeg).

Recently, McKenzie volunteered to coordinate the 2013 Eastman Judged Art Exhibition. This event will be hosted by Pinawa Art 211 at the Pinawa Community Centre, June 12-15, 2013, and will showcase hundreds of artistic entries from throughout the Eastman region. To enter or learn more, contact lejaemckenzie@gmail.com.