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Lark Harbour’s Cy Byrne enjoying the mellow side of life as an artist

Retirement means a sense of freedom to do what you love to do when you want to do it.

For Cy Byrne, this means being able to snap photos and paint pictures, a hobby that he dabbled in for years before deciding to get more out of something he enjoys.

Byrne, a 51-year-old native of Irishtown-Summerside, was one of the artists who exhibited his work for the first time at the opening reception of the HeART of Christmas Show — an annual event for the League of Artists of Western Newfoundland — held Saturday at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre.

Byrne retired from the Canadian Armed Forces two years ago after serving his country for 30 years.

Knowing he wanted to have something to keep him busy with free time on his hands, Byrne decided to spend two years of study at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton, N.B.

“Just to mellow out,” Byrne said of his decision to pursue his passion for art again.

He didn’t want to just jump into retirement with a plan in place. He always loved to take photos and work with acrylics, so he is expecting to be busier than ever when he gets his dark room set up.

“It’s a release for relaxation,” the guy with the big orange beard and tattoos said softly when asked about why art is important to him.

He really doesn’t have any other hobbies so being engaged in art will take a bigger presence in his life. He has fun creating his own pieces and doesn’t mind getting feedback from people who check out his work. There’s a certain beauty in being able to start something and see it completed.

“There’s a real sense of satisfaction,” he said.

He was pretty pleased with how his 3-D painting, called “Drunken Alley,” looked when he was done and he was happy seeing it exhibited at the show Saturday.

“Sometimes you have to tell them you have to use the glasses to get the full effect,” he said with a light chuckle as a handful of other artists chatted about their work with a few people who had dropped in to check out the latest work from the group.

He hasn’t been doing much painting lately. He really has a preference for taking photos. As long as he is creating art it seems he’s enjoying being on the mellow side of life.

“The best part about art is you can do it anytime you want,” he said.

He expects to show his work at more exhibits now that time is on his side.

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