Kelowna artist’s pandemic reflections on display at Vernon gallery

Kelowna-based artist Melissa Dinwoodie created 60 paintings in 60 days during a layoff period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are on display at the Caetani Cultural Centre Saturday, July 18, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

A Kelowna-based artists is bearing her pandemic ruminations to the public at a Vernon art gallery.

After the pandemic caused Melissa Dinwoodie to be laid off from her bartending job in Kelowna, she endeavoured to paint every day until her day job could resume.

The result was 60 paintings created in 60 days, all of which are on display at the Caetani Cultural Centre tonight (July 18) until 9 p.m.

Dinwoodie began painting 10 days into being out of work—days she spent processing the shock of having directly felt the effects of a pandemic-related workplace closure.

“In those first 10 days I didn’t feel very inspired to do anything … I was kind of in denial about what was going on,” she said. “I needed something to get me through each day.”

Specializing in acrylic and mixed media painting, Dinwoodie’s work focuses largely on figurative portraits. The exhibit’s 60 portraits are a chronology of the thoughts and feelings she experienced throughout her layoff period.

READ MORE: Dark themes explored in Vernon author’s debut novel

Hung beneath each portrait is the journal entry she wrote the day the portrait was created.

“I would journal in the morning and kind of figure out how I was feeling that day depending on news that I had watched or who I had talked to the night before,” she said. “However I felt that day, that was my starting point for the painting.”

For Dinwoodie, the process was not only therapeutic but also eye-opening in terms of her work as an artist. A silver lining to her work disruption was that it afforded her the chance to paint full-time.

“That’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “No matter what it is, if you do something every day you’re going to have breakthroughs. You’re going to get better or find some things out that you didn’t know beforehand.”

Dinwoodie added the extra time allowed to her experiment, and the pandemic served as an entry point for creating more topical work.

“This series has made me realize how important it is to do art that actually says something about what’s going on right now and is relevant.”

The Caetani Studio Gallery exhibit is holding a reception from 6-9 p.m. Saturday. Social distancing measures are in effect, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own masks.

READ MORE: Monsoon Festival of Performing Arts turns digital for fifth anniversary


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Artist ExhibitCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo courtesy of David Ogilvie)
Update: No injuries after van fire in West Kelowna

Two fire engines raced to the scene, on Dobbin Road near Scotiabank

Hiawatha RV Park will be demolished starting in February, to make room for a new condo development. Residents have four months to leave. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘I don’t know what to do’; Another Hiawatha resident pleas for eviction extension

Hiawatha RV Park residents have four months to leave the neighbourhood

Kalamalka Lake which connects Lake Country to Vernon and feeds into Okanagan Lake. (File photo)
Response sought to Okanagan Lake level management shortfalls

Water board adds support to Peachland council’s call to change how lake level is managed

In record numbers, Central Okanagan parents were turning to remote learning for their kids this school year. (File photo)
COVID-19 fuels Central Okanagan remote learning expansion

Enrolment for K-9 in eSchool program climbs from 40-50 to 700

(DiStefano Jaud Architecture)
Kelowna city staff wave down proposed Byrns Road development

Developer proposes gas station, car wash, liquor store, commercial buildings, in agricultural area

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

A rock slide is blocking one lane off the Trans-Canada Highway west of Sicamous. (Cindy Schedlosky/Facebook)
Rock slide closes one lane of Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous

Single-lane alternating traffic is in effect.

Vernon-North Okanagan police responded to a property dispute in the 11000 block of Westside Road Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. (Google Maps)
Property dispute leads to police presence near Vernon

An altercation between two individuals prompted a police response to the Westside Road area

Titled “Dutch Underground - Laren 1944,” Mineke Spencer’s parents Johanna and Albert Jan Koeslag (centre) sit with their 13 children, who ranged in age from seven (Minike) to 28. Mineke is the little girl with the big white bow in the front, left, beside sister Marie, also with a white bow. (Contributed)
Fearless allies: Shuswap woman reflects on childhood in Dutch Resistance

Mineke Spencer was three-years-old when Germany invaded her home in the Netherlands

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Most Read