Painting portraits in her Victoria home studio, it’s clear to see why this is artist Elfrida Schragen’s passion.
“I love putting the paint down and watching when colours pop, when things pop and when things come together,” said Schragen.
Every detail has to be just right as she brings people to life on the canvass, with each expert brush stroke.
“I love to do portraits because I love the sparkle I can get from people,” explains Schragen.
Her latest paintings are portraits with a purpose.
Schragen’s painted 28 young people — from all walks of life — who are making a difference, to help raise money for Our Place Society.
“It’s really important for us to help spread the word about what they’re doing but also to show different beacons of light in Greater Victoria,” said Our Place’s Steven Seltzer. “If we can help those people supporting others, then that’s amazing.”
Parker Johnson, who used to volunteer at Our Place, is one of the inspiring subjects.
“I was really honoured,” said Johnson. “I’m just some guy, so it was amazing to have that moment and be recognized for the work I’ve been doing.”
Johnson started This is Table Talk — a community-building platform for people of colour that helps bring people together.
“I think we all need to feel validated in our experience and so when we can share our stories, there’s something really incredible that happens,” he said. “I’ve seen friendships form and relationships form and we’re able to network and it makes the town feel a little bit safer.”
This is the second year Schragen’s dedicated her time and talent to showcase people making a difference.
Last year, she painted close to 40 portraits of women community leaders.
In 2007, she painted portraits of Our Place family members… and the non-profit is so grateful for her support.
“I’m blown away!” said Seltzer. “Talent comes in many different forms, as does support and charity, and basically the value of the paintings is incredible — not just who Schragen’s painted but the work and passion she’s put into them.”
For Schragen, it’s about giving back — something she’s done since childhood.
“I must have discovered that scientific understanding we have now that when you do things for other people, it makes you happy,” Schragen says. “And without knowing about that, it does make me happy when I can do things for people.”
The Admired Youth Portraits of Caring are on Bid.ca along with the incredible stories behind them. People can purchase portraits or make a donation towards their favourite.
The portraits will also be on display at Hillside Shopping Centre for the next six weeks.