Karen Longwell, Northumberland News, Aug 18, 2011

CASTLETON — Classical music plays softly in the background at artist Irene Osborne's home. Old, wooden barn beams and oriental carpets decorate her rural home just outside of Castleton. Upstairs a small studio facilitates Ms. Osborne's passion — painting and creating

Ms. Osborne's fourth solo show at the Colborne Art Gallery opens Aug. 27, with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. The show, titled 'Diverse Inventions' runs until Oct. 2 at the gallery.

An interest in art started in Ms. Osborne's public school years but she was encouraged to study nursing after high school, she said.

"The high school guidance counsellor actually discouraged me from studying art," she said. Ms. Osborne said her parents also didn't think art was a good idea. She instead graduated in nursing and worked at the Hospital for Sick Children. She married and is the mother of four grown children. Her husband was a teacher but they moved to a farm near Castleton in 1976. He did mixed farming — pigs and crops until he retired.

After years of personal independent exploration in art, Ms. Osborne began studies with the Cobourg Art Club, first with Peter Kolisnyk in 1984 and 1985, and with James Paget from 1986 to 1991. She is no longer a member of the Cobourg Art Club but Ms. Osborne was one of the founding members of the Colborne Art Gallery when it opened in 1991.

Music has become a more and more important inspiration for her work, she said. "Music is my muse," she said.

Classical tends to be a favourite with Mozart and Glenn Gould often playing in her studio. But she has played other music including Australian music, which was the inspiration behind a painting called 'Didgeridoo and Slapstick'.

"It (the didgeridoo music) has an animalistic, primal sound to it," she said.

Abstract paintings are an expression of how Ms. Osborne feels when she listens to music, she said. Her landscapes are often painted from real locations but are the impression the place gave rather than a realistic depiction, she said. She says her work is an inner vision, painted in a somewhat trance-like state, or the interpretation of something heard but not seen, such as music.

A landscape painting of rows of lavender fields was created after visiting Scott's Barn Cultural Centre, northeast of Cobourg during the Lavender Festival. The rows of lavender seemed to lead to the horizon and three trees, she said. She paints mainly in acrylic but has used oil and watercolour in the past.
She has exhibited with the Cobourg Art Club and in the juried art shows at the Art Gallery of Northumberland.

The Colborne Art Gallery is at 51 King Street East. For more information call 905-355-1798 or visit the website at www.thecolborneartgallery.ca.