Once an artist has honed their skills as an artist at the ‘Supporting’ membership level of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) you can apply for ‘Active Status’, which then gives you the opportunity to enter FCA shows. That’s something that one of Barriere’s resident artists, Katherine Semrick was ready to do.
“I decided I would become a supporting member and apply for active status at the same time,”says Katherine, “Ten pieces of original art had to be submitted to be juried. A very high level of professionalism is required. The jurors look for a consistent level of ability and skill. Every artist I spoke to said “don’t get your hopes up…. It’s really hard to get in”. I thought, what’s the worst that could happen? It would be a “learning opportunity” and I’d have to try again next year. I applied anyway. On Nov. 29, of 2012, I received a letter of congratulations… I made it! Onward and upward.!”
In April of 2013 she had the opportunity to submit paintings to show in the Thompson Nicola Chapter of the FCA’s Open Show.
“I really had no idea at the time that this was a Canada wide competition and that the paintings would be juried” to even get into the show,” said Katherine, “I was thrilled that my painting ‘Hangin in There’ was accepted. My very first FCA show! We went to the opening reception and I was truly awed and inspired by the quality of work that was submitted.”
Katherine tells that April was a “crazy busy month” for her art.
“Everything seemed to happen at the same time. In April I also entered another one of my paintings ‘Chipmunk Chitter’ in the Emerging Artist Show at the Karla Pearce Gallery in Kamloops. I won third place and received a beautiful trophy and hand crafted necklace at the opening reception.”
“Now, I had two of my best paintings tied up in art shows in Kamloops, and the Barriere Rural Living Expo and Trade Show was approaching fast. I still had a few paintings I thought might do well. There were a lot of jitters and uncertainty regarding setting up a booth at the Expo and Trade Show, but the venue turned out to be awesome, and the volunteers were incredible!”
Katherine says she was truly shocked at the positive response she received there for her paintings.
“The feedback was awesome,” said Katherine, “The painting that stole my show was one I wasn’t even going to bring along! It was titled ‘Dew Drops on a Widow’s Web’, and sold to a private collector in Kamloops. He told me, “This is the painting that’s going to make you famous”. It’s such a wonderful feeling to have someone actually pay money to purchase a painting I created.”
Katherine says that when she got home from the Expo and Trade Show, her daughter-in-law from Nanaimo phoned to congratulate her on the sale of the painting.
“I couldn’t figure out how she had heard about the sales and the Expo so quickly,” said the artist, “But she wasn’t talking about the Expo, she told me the painting at the FCA show had sold! She said someone had gone to see it on the last day, and they were told it had just left. I told her she must be mistaken.”
Katherine says she didn’t believe her painting had sold. Surely someone would have told her if it had sold?
“When I contacted the FCA to make arrangements to pick up my painting from the show; they told me that, yes, in fact, it had sold, and that they were preparing to put a cheque in the mail.”
“I was bouncing off the wall with excitement,” says the artist, “I called everyone I knew… and posted it on my facebook page! Whooo hoooo!”
She then tells that her good fortune hadn’t stopped there. “It wasn’t until a few days later when I was checking out the results of the FCA show that I discovered completely by accident that I had won the FCA People’s Choice Award – first place. I could not begin to tell you how excited I was. The People’s Choice Award is the most incredible honour ever!”
Katherine says the People’s Choice Award is not subject to a professional art critic’s opinion, but is the opinion of the people.
“It tells me without a doubt that the majority of people who saw my work at the FCA show thought my submission was above and beyond the rest. And to win first place – absolutely unbelievable.”
Katherine says now that she has “had a taste” of success with her work, she’ll be looking for every opportunity available to show what she can do.