Snow filters down through the branches and onto the head of a fluffy bird preparing to turn south for the winter. The painting, titled “First Snowfall,” was completed by Helen Banzet, 90, almost a year ago.
“I paint whatever I feel like. I just paint until the picture comes out,” Helen said. “There is lots of beautiful scenery out here.”
Born in 1929 on a farm outside of Colonsay, Saskatchewan, Helen first began drawing with pencils as a young child. When she was in high school, a teacher complimented Helen on a drawing of Winston Churchill that she had completed. Sometime after that, her love of painting began.
Helen has taken several painting courses. In the 1940s she visited her aunt in Vancouver, BC. She loved the landscape and lifestyle so much that she moved into the province shortly after. In 1950, Helen met her husband, Bud, through a friend.
“I met him through his sister. She said, ‘My brother would really like you’ — and she was right!”
Today, Helen is 90 years old and lives at Pacifica Retirement Residence in Surrey, BC, with her husband. Her many paintings hang in their suite, and Helen continues to enjoy painting the many beautiful landscapes of Surrey, including White Rock Pier. Helen also enjoys painting classes held at Pacifica.
“Keep painting whatever comes to your mind,” Helen said when asked what advice she would have for aspiring young artists. “Enjoy what you are doing.”