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Artist creates colouring book of local scenes … for adults


There was a time when Bobbi Pike would have died laughing if you called her an artist. She couldn’t draw, couldn’t paint and didn’t even take an art class in school, since she was sure she was just going to fail anyway. Even as a child, colouring books weren’t really her thing.

About three years ago, Pike and her husband, Geoff, bought a house and worked on the decor.

“My husband had just finished painting our bedroom,” Pike says. “I was sick and tired of spending money on the house, so I went downstairs and mixed up some house paint to match the walls he had just done.”

Pike painted over a department store canvas, and made a new piece of art she says wasn’t great, but wasn’t too bad. Once it was done, she realized she couldn’t stop there.

“At the end of the day, I realized I had fallen in love with having a brush in my hand,” she says.

Until a few years ago, Pike had spent her life working in sales. She left a job at a car dealership with the intention of going back to school to study massage therapy. All that changed when she began painting, and she has now immersed herself in her art, selling it around the world through her website.

Up until last year, Pike was also a biker, logging at least 20,000 kilometres on her motorcycle every summer.

“I got to see about 95 per cent of the province that way, and I loved it,” she says. “When I got on the bike after a stressful day, after about five minutes I felt so much better. I find the same thing now with painting. I’ve found that since I started doing this, it’s relaxing and therapeutic. I sit down at my easel and I’ll set a timer to go off in an hour. The buzzer goes an hour later and I turn it off, thinking I’ve just got to finish this one thing. Then three or four hours later, I’ll get up and my legs are all woozy.”

Pike’s paintings are generally of Newfoundland landscapes, seascapes and architecture, many of them inspired by her time on the bike travelling the island.

“It’s what naturally just came out,” she says.

But her work is not always realist. Her palette is vivid and bold, and she favours sunsets and stormy skies.

Pike and her husband recently spent close to 900 hours using Photoshop to remove the colour from the digital version of some of her paintings — a tedious process — with the goal of turning them back into simple line drawings.

Why? She wants other people to have a go at colouring them.

Pike’s work is being turned into a colouring book for grown-ups. Called “The Colours of Newfoundland and Labrador” and published by Creative Book Publishing, it will be officially launched with an event at Chapters in St. John’s on April 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Colouring books for grown-ups have been all the rage the past couple of years, with adults looking to art therapy as a way to relax and bring them back to their childhood. Faber-Castell, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood pencils, recently reported they are experiencing “double-digit growth” in the sale of colouring leads.

“Currently we are running more shifts than usual in our factory in Stein, Bavaria, in order to satisfy the global needs for artists’ pencils related to the colouring trend for adults,” a Faber-Castell spokeswoman told the U.K.’s Independent newspaper. “People are now not satisfied with just 36 colours and we are noticing a trend in people preferring bigger sets of 72 or even 120 colours for colouring.”

Pike got the idea to produce a colouring book of local scenes after chatting with her son’s girlfriend, who works in a bookstore.

“She was saying there were people coming in, looking for a Newfoundland colouring book. I thought about it, and thought it was something I could do.”

The pages in Pike’s book range from scenic images of St. John’s and outports to symbolic intricate drawings. On every page, like in each of Pike’s paintings, there are three crows.

“Some are easy to find, but others you’ll have to search a little to find,” Pike says.

It’s a reference, she says, to nicknames that were sometimes developed in outport communities to differentiate between families with the same last name. The nickname for Seymour, Pike’s maiden name, was Crow.

“Rumour has it the first Spaniard’s Bay constable was a Seymour,” Pike says. “He was often spotted patrolling the lanes and drungs wearing a long black cape to protect him from the chilly nights. He became the first ‘crow,’ because of how he looked when out on patrol.”

The crows in Pike’s paintings represent herself and her siblings, her family at home and the old poem: one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.

“Three crows signify a girl. A girl crow, that’s me,” Pike says.

The event for the release of “The Colours of Newfoundland and Labrador” won’t be a typical book launch — instead, Pike is planning a massive colouring party.

“I am so excited to see what people are going to do with it,” she said of her colouring book. “It will be really interesting to see what other people are going to create.”

tbradbury@thetelegram.com Twitter: @tara_bradbury

About three years ago, Pike and her husband, Geoff, bought a house and worked on the decor.

“My husband had just finished painting our bedroom,” Pike says. “I was sick and tired of spending money on the house, so I went downstairs and mixed up some house paint to match the walls he had just done.”

Pike painted over a department store canvas, and made a new piece of art she says wasn’t great, but wasn’t too bad. Once it was done, she realized she couldn’t stop there.

“At the end of the day, I realized I had fallen in love with having a brush in my hand,” she says.

Until a few years ago, Pike had spent her life working in sales. She left a job at a car dealership with the intention of going back to school to study massage therapy. All that changed when she began painting, and she has now immersed herself in her art, selling it around the world through her website.

Up until last year, Pike was also a biker, logging at least 20,000 kilometres on her motorcycle every summer.

“I got to see about 95 per cent of the province that way, and I loved it,” she says. “When I got on the bike after a stressful day, after about five minutes I felt so much better. I find the same thing now with painting. I’ve found that since I started doing this, it’s relaxing and therapeutic. I sit down at my easel and I’ll set a timer to go off in an hour. The buzzer goes an hour later and I turn it off, thinking I’ve just got to finish this one thing. Then three or four hours later, I’ll get up and my legs are all woozy.”

Pike’s paintings are generally of Newfoundland landscapes, seascapes and architecture, many of them inspired by her time on the bike travelling the island.

“It’s what naturally just came out,” she says.

But her work is not always realist. Her palette is vivid and bold, and she favours sunsets and stormy skies.

Pike and her husband recently spent close to 900 hours using Photoshop to remove the colour from the digital version of some of her paintings — a tedious process — with the goal of turning them back into simple line drawings.

Why? She wants other people to have a go at colouring them.

Pike’s work is being turned into a colouring book for grown-ups. Called “The Colours of Newfoundland and Labrador” and published by Creative Book Publishing, it will be officially launched with an event at Chapters in St. John’s on April 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Colouring books for grown-ups have been all the rage the past couple of years, with adults looking to art therapy as a way to relax and bring them back to their childhood. Faber-Castell, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood pencils, recently reported they are experiencing “double-digit growth” in the sale of colouring leads.

“Currently we are running more shifts than usual in our factory in Stein, Bavaria, in order to satisfy the global needs for artists’ pencils related to the colouring trend for adults,” a Faber-Castell spokeswoman told the U.K.’s Independent newspaper. “People are now not satisfied with just 36 colours and we are noticing a trend in people preferring bigger sets of 72 or even 120 colours for colouring.”

Pike got the idea to produce a colouring book of local scenes after chatting with her son’s girlfriend, who works in a bookstore.

“She was saying there were people coming in, looking for a Newfoundland colouring book. I thought about it, and thought it was something I could do.”

The pages in Pike’s book range from scenic images of St. John’s and outports to symbolic intricate drawings. On every page, like in each of Pike’s paintings, there are three crows.

“Some are easy to find, but others you’ll have to search a little to find,” Pike says.

It’s a reference, she says, to nicknames that were sometimes developed in outport communities to differentiate between families with the same last name. The nickname for Seymour, Pike’s maiden name, was Crow.

“Rumour has it the first Spaniard’s Bay constable was a Seymour,” Pike says. “He was often spotted patrolling the lanes and drungs wearing a long black cape to protect him from the chilly nights. He became the first ‘crow,’ because of how he looked when out on patrol.”

The crows in Pike’s paintings represent herself and her siblings, her family at home and the old poem: one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.

“Three crows signify a girl. A girl crow, that’s me,” Pike says.

The event for the release of “The Colours of Newfoundland and Labrador” won’t be a typical book launch — instead, Pike is planning a massive colouring party.

“I am so excited to see what people are going to do with it,” she said of her colouring book. “It will be really interesting to see what other people are going to create.”

tbradbury@thetelegram.com Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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