PORT HOPE -Long time Port Hope teacher Heather Roy has an upcoming show at the Colborne Art Gallery. She will be showing a collection of 10 pieces mostly large oil paintings that are classified specifically as non-objective art but for the uninitiated could also be called abstract.

Roy works without a plan. It develops as she works.

"So I call that working inside out," she says.

"About halfway through my process I start to work more formally making decisions based upon principles of art. In the beginning it is very intuitive, from the gut, a response to something. Usually I don't know what it is until I work it further.

"This show explores a sense of relationship between the human body and sacred symbols," she says.

"Usually they are pretty big ideas and I don't expect people to see them.

"People really take what they want from what they see. My goal is for people enjoy it in terms of what it actually looks like. And then read into something that is meaningful to them."

Roy attended Dawson College New School back in the day. More recently, she has studied at the Haliburton School of the Arts, the Toronto School of Art and worked in the studios of various painters with one of her favourites being local painter Fiona Crangle. Mothering, and teaching have been central focuses of her working life. In her forties she started to feel the tug toward art.

"I have been really low key. Its a hard job being a teacher. Joining the gallery was a big step for me. I need to be regular; I need to be committed to have times when I show. Previous to that, making works largely for myself, I was on the studio tour but I really wasn't trying," Roy says.

"I am more serious about making it part of my life and in a couple of years when I retire, hopefully it will be my life."

The name of her exhibit is Get A Life. She says the title works on various levels. It's about "being a painting a geek… in my studio all the time." Also when she is working its about "the flow you get into… the process you get into is like in a whole different life.. it has its own kind of different parameters." Its a process she says is a metaphor for conducting your life.

"When I am making decisions… all the decision making, the balancing, the thinking about fit within the frame — it's all for me very metaphorical.

"On a spiritual level, just the affirmation of making art is part of being alive. That's the part I
really practice in my teaching."

There is also an installation at the gallery at the same time by artist Annie McDonald with sculptures in ceramic and encaustic paint.

The show runs from July 16 to Aug. 21.