Drawing out Canadian curling champions

Victoria-born painter Jayné Childs captures the spirit of sport in a show that coincide with the 2013 World Men’s Curling Championships.

Jayné Childs work

For centuries, artists have been capturing emotional, hard-fought moments in sport through beautifully hand-crafted paintings, sculptures and sketches.

But Victoria-born painter Jayné Childs realized one sport – a favourite Canadian pastime – was noticeably absent from the artistic world.

“I never got in to curling – it was cold; my body doesn’t like the cold. But it’s a really big sport, especially in this part of the country,” she says from her home in Maryfield, Sask. “Curling is such a community heartbeat.”

Childs’ first foray into painting the sport was in February 2011 when curler Russ Howard came to her small Saskatchewan town.

“I decided to see if I could draw anymore. I had done metal sculpture work, huge murals, marblings – all sorts of mediums, but I hadn’t done what I’d done as a kid in 40 years: drawing,” she says.

When Howard came to town, Childs’ art – of a focused Howard throwing the rock – received accolades and praise . That’s when she knew she had tapped into a special niche.

“I worked out a business plan where I could celebrate champions of curling and support them in their pursuits of excellence,” she says.

Since beginning her curling art portfolio just two years ago, Childs has painted – with watercolour – the likenesses of Canadians Jennifer Jones, Mike McEwan, Cheryl Bernard, Jeff Stoughton and more.

Partial proceeds from the sales of Childs’ art go to the champion curlers portrayed in the artwork. Proceeds also go to support the curling clubs that host her art.

Childs, who grew up in Victoria and returned a number of times through adulthood, will return to her hometown again this month for an exhibit that will coincide with the 2013 World Men’s Curling Championships.

Childs will be the artist in residence at the Fairmont Empress Hotel from March 23 to April 8, showcasing her curling portfolio in the hotel’s conservatory.

While in Victoria, she plans to attend some of the draws to photograph more intimate moments in the sport, which she’ll then translate to canvas. She plans to have three or four paintings on the go, as she works at the Empress.

“There’s nothing like being in the live rink and being able to get their personality, and the personality that I’m able to really paint in their champion character,” Childs said.

Childs’ work will be on display daily from noon to 8 p.m. (excluding Easter Sunday). Limited edition collector prints will be available for purchase.

For more information, visit curlingchampions.com.