Bringing the beauty of God’s world into people’s lives through her paintings has been Hedy Munawych’s passion for over six decades.
Now at age 96, living in her fourth-floor apartment at The Hamlets, she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
In fact, she’s busier than ever putting oil to canvas, flowers, landscapes, horses, and just about any subject is fair game for the gentle lady with the brush.
This Friday, as a way to let people see what she’s been up to lately, Munawych and friends are hosting a day-long show of her work at The Hamlets.
“I see so much beauty in the world, I look out and see that mountain over there, I’ve painted it several times,” she said pointing to the hills to the north through her window. “Everything, no matter whether it’s animals, flowers or scenery that I get to paint, every evening, every night, every day I thank the Lord for the beautiful world he’s given us. What we do with it is our choice.
“Sometimes the simpler they (subjects) are the more beautiful they are. Even a leaf is beautiful.”
Growing up, crayons were her favourite gift even though she didn’t start painting seriously until her late 30s, early 40s.
“I just loved all those lovely colours,” she remembered.
Munawych recalled another time when inspiration suddenly struck her and she grabbed the first paper she could find and started drawing some colourful flowers.
“But that paper just happened to be my husband’s work, I forgot to look on the other side and he had to do it again, he wasn’t too happy. But any paper that was around was in danger,” she laughed.
Shows have always been her favourite way to display her work and she remembered a painting that particularly caught people’s attention when it was on display at the University of Alberta.
“It was a forest and you could look into it there was a man and his son sitting in the forest. I stood back and listened to what people were saying and they just loved it,” said Munawych. “It really meant a lot to me.”
Her longtime friend Cindy Bertrand Larson has been working on putting together a collection of Munawych’s work in a coffee table book which will be available for signing in the near future.
“As a person, she’s very respectful of all people and animals, she has a deep reverence for the earth and its beauty and how it is a gift, we’ve been given this garden to live in and how lucky are we,” said Bertrand Larson.
At the beginning of the book, Munawych wrote: ‘Ach, mein Gott, das kindt hat bloes eine hant.’
“‘Oh, my God, the child has only one hand,’ the midwife cried out in German as I came into the world. Otherwise a very healthy 10-pound baby. My mother burst into tears. What a shock it must have been,” said Munawych.
“My father walked over to my mother and kissed her tenderly. ‘Thank you for such a beautiful child; we will treat her just like her sister; she will learn to cope all by herself; we won’t treat her differently.’ Which is exactly what they did and I adapted. I was very fortunate.”
Because of that, the fact she only has one hand has never held her back from her joy of life and bringing that joys to others.
The show opens at 9:30 a.m. and runs throughout the day.
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