Tricia Walters: (Through a) Child’s Eye
Featuring watercolour illustrations and handmade toys, Tricia Walters focuses specifically on children in (Through a) Child’s Eye. All the artwork will be displayed at the level of an average 8-year-old.
Parents are invited to bring their children to the show and spend time together looking through the various framed and unframed pieces and pick up, touch and hold the various handmade toys on display.
“I grew up in the 70s with Beatrix Potter books and always loved the way the characters in her books had lives involving school, parents, chores and everyday regular human activities,” Tricia says. As a journalist by trade, Tricia adds that she never thought she would end up painting illustrations, but every day she sees something that inspires her to paint. “Some people might see a woman walking her dog down the street. I see a French Poodle taking a woman shopping for a new umbrella or other fashionable item that might encourage the Beagle next door to take a second look.” she laughs. “As for animals in general, bunnies are my favourite. They have so much character, despite being all ears and tail. Paired with a little girl or boy on an adventure and suddenly that bunny becomes a best friend.”
She says nothing beats the imagination of a child. “I used to make up stories all the time when I was a kid. I guess that’s how everyone knew I would end up a writer of sorts. I used to share my stories with my friends and my dad played a big part in many of these.”
Her father passed last year, aged 64. “He used to tell me there were fairies living in the garden and would spend hours helping me look for them. He was also a big believer in having animals as part of the family. We grew up with a regular zoo. I had rabbits, cats, dogs, hamsters, mice, rats and even squirrels as pets,” she recalls. “Each one had a voice, a personality and I would regularly imagine them in various scenarios, like getting together at night when everyone was asleep and dancing around the garden together.”
“For some reason we lose this ability to imagine when we grow up. It’s very sad,” she says. “I hope that through my illustrations I can help adults recall some of those memories, those stories they imagined when they were children.”
She adds: “With modern technology, computers, video games and the like, children don’t read actual books anymore. Beatrix Potter will be all but a faint memory in ten years’ time. Along with her, our children will lose their innocence and their ability to imagine a different world, maybe even a better one.”
The handmade toys are a new addition to Tricia’s work. “When I started planning this exhibit I wanted to include stuffed toys and went shopping, but it was hard to find what I wanted so I just decided to sit down and make my own,” he says with a laugh. “Now I guess I’m making toys as well as painting.”
The toys, made from bright, sometimes clashing colours and fabric, include birds, elephants and ‘boo boo bears’.
“The boo boo bears were an idea I had after working closely with some children in June,” she explains. “One little boy would come up to me at the start of every art workshop and tell me about his new boo boo. He got a particular boo boo from falling out of a tree, or from stepping on a sharp rock.”
She adds: “I remember what it was like as a child. Sometimes a boo boo was more than just a scratch or a scab. Children have so much to deal with now including divorce, violence, abuse. I wanted a toy that would help them deal with all the pain, we as adults don’t see because it’s not a scab or a scratch you can put a bandaid on. So I made the boo boo bear. By giving a child a boo boo bear, you let them know that it’s ok for the bear to carry all that pain, the worry and the hurt while the child can just get along with being a child. When you’re concerned about your child you ask how boo boo bear is doing? Hopefully kids will catch on to this and find it easier to talk about what they’re experiencing it’s not ‘I got hurt’ but ‘boo boo bear got hurt’.”
There is no waiting period for work sold in this show. New work will be added on a regular basis so the show is literally growing day by day – “the way a child would”.