Rayna De Hoog has worked to help protect drivers from icy road conditions for more than three years as part of Billabong Road and Bridge Maintenance, which few may know.
She also has what she considers a serious hobby, painting.
De Hoog has been an avid artist since she was 10-years-old.
That’s when she received some positive feedback about her sketches and paintings from others.
“People actually bought some of my art right away,” she said.
“I did an Asian-style house in ink and it sold for $30.”
“I liked to create before that, but I got to thinking I could really make something of my passion.”
De Hoog spent her early childhood in Chilliwack then moved to Smithers with her family at the age of nine.
Once she realized her talent in art DeHoog decided to take as many classes as possible while attending Smithers secondary school.
She decided not to pursue post-secondary studies and has found some obstacles in the larger art community.
“I’ve tried to promote my art in Ontario, but they refuse to look at me seriously because I’m not formally trained,” De Hoog said.
“They ask me ‘who are you?’ or ‘what have you done?’”
Her response is to tell them she’s the mother of two who lives with her husband of 23 years on 640 acres, which is often followed by the click of disconnection, she said.
“One of them told me if I want to be a serious artist that I can’t have a family,” De Hoog said.
“I was told that if I don’t give 100 per cent, I am going nowhere as an artist and maybe they’re right.”
She has no regrets about where she is or the amount of success she’s had to date, but now feels confident she can step up her profile.
“I’m not sure I’m ready for that sort of recognition in a small town, but I’m willing to try it now,” she said.
“As an artist, I’ve kinda steered away from the spotlight because it just wasn’t the right time.”
De Hoog is fortunate to live on a relatively remote piece of property surrounded by mountains, which provides her with all the inspiration she needs.
She’s seen caribou, wolves, grizzlies and deer from her living room window.
De Hoog produces around 10 paintings per year and generally lets the inspiration come to her, which allows art to remain a joy.
“Art is just a serious and pleasurable pursuit,” she said.
“I love it.
“If I can make a bit of money selling a few prints here and there all the better.”
She doesn’t want art to consume her life.
“I’ve seen too many people that abuse their time and money for a hobby,” she said.
“That just isn’t me.”
She likes being able to be with her family while she paints and that involves plenty of shuffling around.
“My house is my studio, most often I’m in the living room, so I can talk to people and not be zoned-out in a corner somewhere.”
She has yet to have her art in a gallery, but has sold pieces at Heartstrings and at the Hudson Bay Mountain tourist area.
A large print, a 24” by 30” piece, is around $250 and a small piece like the framed Kermode (pictured above) will sell for $50.
To view other works by De Hoog visit raynadehoog.see.me.