By Judith van Berkom –
Both Lenka and her husband are born and raised in Ottawa – Lenka in the Glebe and her husband in Kitchissippi ward.
At age 20, Lenka Cutler received a paint set for her birthday and instantly fell in love with it.
With a degree in communications, she worked for many years in the federal government. She married, had three children and chose to stay home and raise her children. Lenka attributes her inspiration to those ten years, when she saw the world through the eyes of her children and spent an hour looking at a butterfly – examining the colours, textures, and shapes of the natural environment.
Lenka tells the story of her Czech father who painted; how he could just look at a painting, come home, and replicate the image on canvas – seemingly a natural talent.
Once all her children started school, Lenka had the opportunity to either go back to a desk job or follow her passion and head off into an entirely different direction. So three years ago she enrolled in a fine arts degree at the Ottawa School of Art, part-time.
She savours every moment there, developing her style, discovering different techniques and finding herself back as a painter and more recently, printmaker. Surrounded by like-minded artists, the Ottawa School of Art is a place to meet up with others with a similar background.
“I’m there because I love it. I get the most out of each class, particularly print making,” says Lenka. “It’s fascinating to me – a form of painting with some exciting elements to it. You can’t control it like painting. It’s quite fine work with pleasant surprises when you lift the paper off what you’ve etched.”
Her paintings, on the other hand, give her the opportunity to use a completely different technique.
“I start off with a lot of energy, a canvas – I love not having the boundaries of the frame – and I have a unique style. First I use acrylic (fast drying) and then move to water-based oils. I love the intensity of the oils.”
Lenka’s work is quintessentially Canadian, with the outdoors as her inspiration. Her bison theme was inspired by a visit to Park Omega with her children a number of years ago. Themes such as canoes, reflections, capturing movement or landscapes, are bold and colourful with some of her newer work experimenting with abstract expressionism.
To preview Lenka’s work, go to instagram.com/lenkacutler.
The West End Studio Tour takes place September 17 & 18 and 24 & 25. For more information, as well as addresses of artists’ studios, see westendstudiotour.ca.