By: Shelby Ch’Ng

Covid wasn’t kind to anyone and when my shop closed for good due to chaotic rules and disruptions in my supply lines, I felt quite lost. During lockdowns I found painting, and I naturally gravitated towards a BC folk art style that reflected where I spent my summers as a teenager. Painting filled a space in my heart and I’ve been consistently inspired by scenes in Northern Ontario.

I spent the first 5 days of my residency mostly in solitude, painting and chatting with campers who came upon my cabin. The forest fire smoke casted a pall over the park, and I was worried that I wasn’t going to find the inspiration I needed to paint. In the first few days, it felt as though the lake wanted me to paint it while it held its breath, protecting the fish, creatures and plants that lived below its surface. I used this lake’s water in my paintings, and the paintings are a story from the lake told through me as its medium.

My friends and family joined me in the second week and we had an amazing time painting, playing guitar and chatting about life and love around the campfire. I’m so thankful that Quetico offers this program for people like me who love storytelling through art.