CORNER BROOK Everett Penney drove a taxi in Corner Brook for years.
“You couldn’t see nothing except what was in front of you on the street,” said Penney, 87, who came to the city from Bloomfield, Bonavista Bay when he was 16. He spent 12 years working in the bush before he started driving taxis. But when he left that job and headed north to Yellowknife, things changed.
“And then I saw all the great things,” said the resident of the Mountain View Retirement Centre.
In his 60s at the time, Penney said that’s when he started to put it all together and the artist inside him emerged. From photography to painting, to ice sculptures and driftwood sculptures and framing pressed plants, his art has taken many forms.
“I’ve dabbled in it all,” he said while showing off some of his plant creations that adorn nearly ever inch of the walls of his room at the home.
His art even creeps out into the home and paintings and photographs, some in frames crafted by Penney, are displayed on hallway walls. Little sitting areas are also filled with his sculptures.
All of them are welcome additions to the home.
“This is the beauty part,” said Penney, “because first I was scared they wouldn’t like it.”
Over the last couple of months Penney has taken his art outside the building and turned a small hill just at the entrance of the home’s parking lot into a display of sculptures with a flower garden on the side.
There you’ll see an odd looking dinosaur, a dragonfly, a snake that reaches up to the sky, a whale and an inukshuk that signifies that Penney has been there.
The wood, rocks and other things used in the sculptures were all collected on his travels out and about.
The tree that forms the snake came from the wooded area behind the home. “I was walking along and there he was sitting there, so I said ‘I got to get you,’ and that was the start of it there,” he said pointing to his gallery on the hill.
The body of the dinosaur came from the Bay of Islands, towed ashore by a friend who thought it was nothing more than an old stump till Penney said ‘that’s art,’ and the whale from Sandy Lake.
“It’s better when you scrounge it,” Penney said with a laugh. Noting the bright yellow paint on the dinosaur is the variety used to mark lines on the highway.
As for what each piece of wood becomes, Penney said when he sees it a vision just comes out.
“It just jumps out at you. You’re walking along and you see it. There’s always something there,” he said.
“I has lots of fun. There’s no dull moments. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s fun.”