| Aug 14, 2019

Depending on the entrance to NAEC you used for this year’s Cloyne Showcase Art & Craft Sale, you may have been greeted by a pastel (chalk-based) portrait of Keith Richards. A little further in the display, there was a similar treatment of Willie Nelson.

These are the work of Brian Bailey, a first-timer at the show game.

Bailey and his wife, Leane, retired to the Ompah area three years ago and are beginning to make an impression on the northern art scene.

They work in pastels and coloured pencils and in fact, have been commissioned to do a mural for North Frontenac Township (to be installed at the Public Works Garage on 509 and S. Lavant Road).

“We’ll be learning acyrlics for that one,” he said. “Pastels don’t stand up to the elements.”

Brian has drawn for years, dating back to the late ’70s but somewhere along the line, he fell out of it. He’s just picked it up again since retiring.

“I worked for Coca Cola for 40 years,” he said. “I went there in 1976 for a summer job and never left.”

Leane was a high school teacher in Durham. They lived in Port Perry but opted for Ompah in retirement.

“And yes,” he said. “I am a big Rolling Stones fan.”

“We have a wall in our basement that’s all Rolling Stones portraits,” she said.

“I did a bunch of them in 1978,” he said.

The Baileys’ work is on display in the gallery at the back of the Shamrock Bakery in Plevna.

And showing off the work of local artists is quite in keeping with why the Cloyne Showcase, now in its 47th year, began, said Katie Ohlke, NAEC art teacher and one of the organizers of the annual show.

“It started out as a way for the night school adult students to showcase what they’d done,” she said. “And now, 15 per cent of the sales help fund the art program at the school.”

And while many schools have art programs, not many get the support and emphasis NAEC gives its program.

“It’s great,” she said. “The kids here are very artsy.

“I think kids who grow up in the country here are more creative because they’re surrounded by nature.”

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