Winnie Larsen and her fellow Chroma 8 artists almost never had the chance to put on an art show.
The octet of ladies are showcasing their work, titled A Muse Bouche, March 19-28 at the Rebecca Gallery. It is the denouement to their Toronto School of Art Professional Studio class of 2015 graduation.
Larsen, seated in the living room of her Rosedale apartment, with cats Oliver and Lenny watching, shares her history. She started at the TSA in 2006. It went bankrupt in 2012, leaving the students in the lurch.
“I was doing this because it’s something that I love to do,” says Larsen, whose other occupation is social worker-psychotherapist. “As my daughter suggested, you need to do something other than flowers, and I did.”
Businessmen Aldo Cundari, Brian Bradstreet and Sol Roter chipped in to buy the school, and allowed those working towards a diploma to finish. Larsen’s was the last group to finish. But it was no easy task, as a lot of wheeling and dealing had to be made so they could earn their diplomas.
Graduation, as well as the classes, has led the Danish-born boomer’s artwork to blossom.
Larsen beams while looking at the walls of her living room, study and bedroom, all adorned in flowery watercolours, ink and Vaseline on Mylar, landscapes, figuratives and abstract portraits.
“This year I’ve been doing this more abstract work,” she comments. “I am returning to it, but in a looser way.”
She’s looking at some of the nudes she’s painted, and admits further to wanting to work with the human body more.
“Initially, when you’re doing portraiture or figure, you’re concerned with getting the proportions right, and all that kind of stuff, but you get away from what you want,” she adds.
For this last class she did two series: Ashbridges Bay and Leaf Bags, both in an abstract light.
“When you’re doing all of these classes it’s actually the first time you get to conceptualize what you want to do yourself,” she says. “That’s a challenge in of itself.”
Though she’s proud of her work, and of finishing TSA, she’s keen on the idea of working together with artists.
“It’s not that I think that I’m going to be some recognized artist,” she says. “It’s nice to have an outlet for your artwork, and that you’re continuing to evolve in it.”
Her next appearance, April 21-22 at Kensington Apartments at 21 Dale Ave., is highlighting her work among those who live in the building.