“As an artist, you see things all the time. You see a lot of detail, you see a lot of colour that other people don’t see at all.”
“You see, the main thing is to get movement and excitement into my work. That’s what I’m after.” explains Merrill Cook, who’s been painting her whole life.
“Well, I always wanted to be creative in some way or other. It goes back to…six years old, being interested in drawing and being expressive.”
Merrill Cook has captured scenes on canvas from travels throughout North America, Europe, the Far East, and New Zealand.
Now, after many exhibitions through the years, she’s preparing her work once again.
“I was asked if I would have a show, and I said…’Yes’ ” Cook explains.
And once she’d said ‘Yes,’ the organizing began.
“You’ve got to plan three months ahead of time…and you’ve got to do something every single day.
“But I’ve done it so many times for my own exhibitions that it doesn’t scare me.”
Preparing for the show means choosing, and framing, her work.
Cook illustrates how she frames her art.
“I put the work down. I put the mat on like this, and then I’m going to turn it over, and then I have a frame that size if I wish to frame it, otherwise I put a plastic sleeve on it.”
Shelley de Hoog is the Resident Support Manager at Carlton House, where Cook’s art show is being held.
“The public will be thrilled to see her art. She’s quite a well known artist…” says de Hoog.
And Merrill Cook is also 97 years old!
“I know!” exclaims Cook with a beaming smile, “I can’t believe it…I’m still here, and being able to do things!
“But I haven’t painted now in about six years. As soon as you start to lose your eye-hand coordination, and it doesn’t do what you tell it to do, it’s time to stop.”
And while that may mean stop painting, it doesn’t mean stop moving.
“She is going 100 percent of the time” says de Hoog. “She is always out and about in the community, and it’s pretty hard to keep up to Merrill!”
So what keeps Merrill Cook going, as she’s now just three years shy of 100?
“You know, creativity is very important, and as an artist, you have another dimension of life. You see things all the time, you see a lot of detail, you see a lot of colour that other people don’t see at all…
And that’s what keeps you going, the stimulation.”
Merrill Cook’s Art Show is June 18 at Carlton House on Oak Bay Avenue.