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Two Generations share family stories at VASA

Linda Taras-Fulton and her granddaughter Katie Taras inspire with penetrating images that speak of shared yet different experiences
Boy in Cane, a painting by Linda Taras-Fulton, is one of 26 paintings on display for Two Generations at Visual Arts Studio Association on Sir Winston Churchill Ave. ANNA BOROWIECKI/St. Albert Gazette

Close to 26 oil, acrylic and water colour paintings hanging at Visual Arts Studio Association gallery are a striking symbol of life’s beauty and pain. 

Two Generations is the work of Linda Taras-Fulton and Katie Taras, a grandmother-granddaughter duo who share a passion for painting and pouring their emotions and memories onto each canvas. The exhibit explores each woman’s personal experiences through grief and loss, happiness and diversity. 

Taras-Fulton, 85, is the poster girl of a sweet, soft-spoken, silver-haired grandmother. A touch on the romantic side, she was married twice and lost both husbands. Yet her realistic paintings reflect the joy she felt in living each day with love and compassion. Paintings of her late husband Fred Fulton, nieces and an old horse barn showcase the family she prizes above everything else. 

Counting 27 grandchildren from a blended family, Taras-Fulton cares deeply about children and supports several international orphanages. 

“We have so much. That’s what you do. Some people are born with nothing and die with nothing. During our lifetime, it’s important to do things that will help. And I love children. I’ve always had lots of children in my house, and if they had problems, it was an open door.” 

All of Taras-Fulton's paintings have a story. One of her paintings titled Strong Woman is an image captured in Guatemala of a woman cooking a meal outside a tent constructed together from greenish garbage bags. 

“It’s about survival — how people just survive. I always admire people who deal with things in life. She’s very strong and found a way to go on living.” 

Another painting of young Honduran boy is titled Boy in the Grass. The young boy appears to chop sugar cane with a machete. 

“I had three boys and my three boys had to work in our garden. The boy hacking at the sugar cane — he's strong and reminded me of my boys. He’s only a boy yet has had to become a man quickly.” 

Her granddaughter Katie Taras, 27, who writes poetry and plays viola, prefers working with watercolour and acrylic. She uses a splatter technique with intentional lines drawn through dots that appear to float. 

Laura Taras, Katie’s mother explains her daughter was diagnosed with Bipolar II as a child. Katie has used art as therapy and as a way to stay calm. 

“Gradually she started to see patterns in the art, and it helps her work through her depression,” said Laura Taras. 

Taras estimates her daughter has painted close to 100 paintings. 

“If you look closely, you can see alien ships and ghosts. She’ll see patterns in things, and she’ll pull them out. It looks random, but there’s a very methodical process to get the result she wants. She calls them her journal entries.” 

Through the years, grandmother and granddaughter developed a special bond whereby they encouraged each other’s artistic progress. The chats became a lifeline for both during COVID. 

Taras-Fulton's husband Fred had developed dementia and was living at home under his wife’s care in Ontario. No one without up-to-date vaccinations was permitted into the apartment to protect Fred. 

“She (Katie) helped me through the hard time with my husband. We would talk about art for an hour every day when he slept, and we would send pictures to each other of what we worked on,” Taras-Fulton explained. 

A reception for Two Generations takes place Sunday, March 5 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. VASA is located at 25 Sir Winston Churchill Ave.  

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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