Flicking artist Cheryl Rayfield displays her art during Stettler’s Art Walk.

Flicking artist Cheryl Rayfield displays her art during Stettler’s Art Walk.

Nature brings artist Cheryl Rayfield back to her roots

When Cheryl Rayfield moved from her hometown in England to rural Alberta, she discovered new ways to express herself.

When Cheryl Rayfield moved from her hometown in England to rural Alberta, she found it easy to refocus her energy, and this allowed her to discover new ways to express herself and find the freedom to do so.

A flicking artist as Rayfield describes herself, she flicks paint onto paper and other medium and creates her art.

“My hometown has more than 50,000 people, so moving to Halkirk, where there is only about 120 people, changes your look on life,” reflected Rayfield. “We have been lucky enough to spend the two and half years that we have lived in Canada on an acreage and I really do feel like I’ve come home and this has given me the freedom to be able to express myself in new ways and maybe even old ways I had forgotten about.”

Rayfield says that being closer to nature and having the natural landscapes around with the skyline has influenced her with her landscape work that she has done in other mediums.

“Being part of such a small community has driven my family and myself to make sure we’re giving back where we can,” she adds.

This is what drove her husband to become part of the volunteer fire department in Halkirk.

“We had a grass fire on our acreage, which was terrifying,” said Rayfield. “That along with my passion to help others in need has brought me to this path.”

When Rayfield heard about the Fort Mac fires, she really wanted to be able to do something to help, but having a one-year-old baby made it hard for her to be able to be there in person and go and help people so she thought what skills could she use to provide something of value to those who have lost so much.

“That’s when I came up with the idea of painting our province with the heart over Fort Mac area, and I was lucky to be able to put that up at Sean’s No Frills for auction and raise $500,” continued Rayfield.

For Rayfield her moment of epiphany came while thinking of how she could cheer her sister up.

“I’ve always wanted to do colourful paintings as I follow the work of energy artist Julia closely, so in March this year when I was thinking of how to cheer my sister who has cystic fibrosis, I thought it would be interesting to incorporate rainbow and glitter together,” recalled Rayfield. “I remembered a painting I did when I was really young, maybe two in playschool where I flicked paint onto paper, and that brought back the idea.”

Rayfield then proceeded to use her sister’s favourite character as a silhouette to draw, make a stencil using a thin plastic and then did some base colours before flicking paint over the top.

“I love the work of energy artist Julia and Katy Lipscomb, the colours and animals just really speak to me and remind me of dreams and meditations I’ve had,” said Rayfield. “But in real life it is my sister who is my inspiration, because for her to just breathe is like us using a juice box straw to breathe out of, so whenever I feel things are not going my way or a painting is frustrating me I have to remind myself to be grateful to be able to breathe normally and not start coughing every few minutes.”

Rayfield said that when she started out at first she was always looking for others’ approval, but with time she has realized that art is not about that.

“I finally got that as I continued to enjoy working on my art, because I don’t actually care if no one likes them because I love them – rainbow flicks and glitter with some of my favourite characters and animals serve as inspiration for me, what’s not to love,” exclaimed Rayfield. “So for those who are trying to get their art out, I’d say just try getting out there and giving it a go, if you enjoy doing it, there will be people out there who will like it and if you do it with joy and love they will feel that through your art.”