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Journey of discovery

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Lisa Cano-Rowland (Photograph David Skinner )

Discovering their own talent is perhaps every art lover’s dream. Although she hadn’t painted since school, 45-year-old Lisa Cano-Rowland couldn’t resist when she had the opportunity to take an art class four years ago.

Ten of her watercolours are now on display in the Edinburgh Gallery at the Bermuda Society of Arts. The joint exhibit with Cristina Douglas is a first for Mrs Cano-Rowland, a London-born audiologist who moved to the island with her family ten years ago.

Q: What got you interested in art?

A: I’ve always enjoyed art. I liked it when I was at school but what typically happens when you leave school is you tend to not carry on with those things you enjoy. You go on to work and forget about it. When I came to Bermuda I met somebody who was starting to get into art and she invited me to go to a class at BSoA. That was about four years ago.

Q: And you were hooked from there?

A: It was a class on architectural art, which I thought I might enjoy and I did. I produced a piece of work that looked like a house — I was quite pleased that it looked like something. So I went and bought my own supplies and started practising, and built on that. [Eventually] I changed from architecture to other things; I’m frequently changing style, seeing what works for me. For this exhibit, I chose birds. Everybody likes birds but most tend to [show them] sitting on a perch. I wanted them flying, to show something a bit more majestic, at a different angle. It gave new perspective and was something different from a bird just sitting on a perch.

Q: What do you do in your day job? Anything creative? Had you ever considered becoming an artist?

A: I’m an audiologist. I don’t get to be artistic in my job so perhaps that’s why I like it outside of the job. I never really considered art as a career. There’s a lot of competition out there and you have to be the best of the best to have a career. I don’t think it’s the type of thing where you can just “do the job”. You have to be absolutely the best and I never considered it as a career for that reason. But I am pleased with what I’ve done. I still feel I have a long way to go but I’m happy I am where I am at the moment. People like what I do and that’s pleasing.

Q: Why birds? Have you only painted ones you can find here?

A: I like birds. They’re pretty and, especially in the UK, you don’t see many exciting birds naturally. But here there’s the kiskadee, the cardinal, the bluebird. They’re all very bright and catch your eye as they fly through the trees. Even if [my pictures] don’t sell they’re nice to show and to see on the walls. It’s only the cardinal that I used in the show that was a Bermudian bird. The others are from around the world so I had to [paint them from] photos I could find on the internet. The birds I painted, I put my own interpretation on them so they’re not perfectly accurate. I haven’t put in every detail. I feel you should do something different when you’re painting, it doesn’t have to be lifelike.

Q: Do you have children? How do you find time to paint?

A: I have two children. One in the UK, Rebekah, who is 24 and my other daughter, Eloise, who is here, is 13. I’m very lucky that my husband, Paul Cano-Rowland, will take care of most of things at home. It frees me up to paint when I want to. Every week I spend a couple hours painting, if I can.

Q: Are either of your daughters interested in art?

A: My oldest daughter went to art school. She did her diploma in art but didn’t take it up as a career for the same reasons that I didn’t. My youngest daughter resisted for a long time. She insisted that she didn’t like art but, all of a sudden picked up a pencil. She has a great eye for putting what she sees on paper and is starting to enjoy it now so I’m really pleased about that.

Q: And when you’re not painting, what do you do?

A: I also play roller derby. I saw a roller derby Facebook page here and straight away was drawn to it. I went to watch them train and immediately bought the kit and joined the team. I had no experience. I hadn’t skated since I was about 12 years old and don’t know what made me think I could. I was a bit wobbly to start but with practice got a bit better and now I feel I can hold my own. We train twice a week. We’re the only team here and there’s about 15 members.

Q: It’s a contact sport. Weren’t you scared of getting hit?

A: There’s a lot of body contact involved. You do get bruises. It’s almost like a badge of honour to get the biggest and darkest. You can also get injuries. I’ve sprained my ankle three times and I know some people do break bones and get concussions and things although I don’t think we’re at that level where we’re hitting each other that hard.

Duo is on display at BSoA through February 28. Look for Bermuda Roller Derby on Facebook

(Photograph David Skinner )
(Photograph David Skinner )
(Photograph David Skinner )
(Photograph David Skinner )