Local artist draws inspiration from her young children
Aside from her family, Gail Westra’s other love is art.
“I enjoy making stuff people can enjoy and use,” Westra said. “They can appreciate the time and craftsmanship put into the piece.”
Westra began exploring her artistic side when she was a young girl and continued throughout high school. After high school, she married Marcus Westra, and her life changed.
“When I got married I took a break,” Westra said. “After I had my daughter Lilian five years ago I got into it again.”
While being a busy stay-at-home mom, Westra worked within different mediums that helped her to grow her artistic ability. She designed her children’s nurseries (today she does the same for clients). She decorated her daughter’s room with butterflies and her son Daniel’s room is decorated with tractors and fire trucks.
She painted their rooms before they were born, and once they came into the world she was amazed how the décor fit their personalities.
“The rooms matched their characters exactly,” Westra said. “My daughter is very girly and my son is a boy if there ever was one.”
Westra is inspired in her art by all kinds of things, but one inspiration is her daughter. Westra made Lilian superhero capes to play in. Westra enjoys going to various stores and looking at the different fabrics available. She gets ideas from the prints about how she is going to use them. She enjoys making clothes and other items for kids.
Westra’s work is on display at two local businesses. She paints unique pieces on wooden pallets. The pallet artwork is on display at Emerald Desert Nursery. She’s also a talented quilt maker; one of her quilts is on display at The Grainery.
“I really like to sew and quilt,” Westra added. “I go back and forth if I get burnt out on one thing or the other. God has blessed me with a creative talent to make stuff.”
Westra has seen her art grow over the years with more experience and practice. She has seen it improve over time the more she does it.
“I find tricks to make it go faster and easier,” Westra said. “My art has evolved to fit the need of whatever personal style someone wants.
In the future, Westra would like to have her own store in the downtown area, where she can sell her art in one place and draw from local shoppers and visitors.
“I want people to enjoy the pieces, whether it’s a sign, a quilt or anything I’ve made,” Westra said.
— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor