Pender Harbour artist June Malaka comes from a big family - 14 kids who grew up in Alberta.
Art was part of their upbringing, she says.
"There weren't a lot of resources; we'd sit around in the evening and draw," said Malaka.
On May 1, five of her family, four sisters and a niece, will open a show of their collective art entitled, not surprisingly, A Family Palette at the Harbour Gallery in Madeira Park. They expect to fill the gallery with their lively and varied paintings, woodcarvings and stained glass window panels in an appealing collection of familiar vistas, portraits, nautical scenes and flora and fauna.
While June Malaka has earned some local fame for both her watercolours and her stained glass, some of her sisters are not so well known. Gloria Malaka also works in watercolour and multi media. Sister Helen LeBlanc juggles her recreational art, painting landscapes, with a full time job. Mary Kerr favours portraiture and also depicts animals and scenery; she has recently switched from pastels to watercolour. Niece Pauulet Hohn studied four years at the Alberta College of Art and works primarily in stained glass. She is also a carver and is particularly drawn to driftwood, "the smell, feel and hunt for it." All the family lives around the Pender Harbour area, with Hohn having her studio, The Piecefull Glass Canvas, on acreage. Efforts to have an artistic brother and a professional oil painting sister from Alberta join them were not successful. "Maybe next year," says Malaka.
June is also semi-professional and divides her time between her art and being a mother. "Our own mother passed away last December," she says. "Maybe this is a way of keeping us together."
A Family Palette runs until May 16 with an opening reception to meet the artists on Saturday, May 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. The gallery will be open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.