For some, retirement is a time to enjoy some well-deserved rest.

For others, like Rose-Marie Cameron, it’s time to get to work. 

Cameron, a resident of Bonnyville, retired from teaching in 2007. Her newfound freedom gave her the impetus to apply herself to two of her lifelong passions—music and art. 

“In 2007, I started making artwork with a passion, and then just kind of went crazy with it,” Cameron said. “It was so exciting to me, something I hadn’t really done too much to develop. I’d been more developing music, but not so much artwork.”

Now she exhibits her work and sells pieces. She has paintings on display at Bonnyville’s Centennial Centre and at Beantrees in Cold Lake. 

“I love it because I feel very free to do whatever I want,” she said. “I have a lot of support from my family and friends, and people that see my work really like it.”

She insists popular approval isn’t what makes the work worthwhile, but at the same time she admits it encourages her. “It’s nice when other people enjoy it,” she said. “And I want to share it with people because I think it’s something that most people wouldn’t see on a regular basis.”

The confidence to present her paintings to the public comes in part from her experience as a musician performing in front of an audience. 

“I think probably a lot of people are afraid to present something—which I’ve never been afraid to do, even if it wasn’t the greatest. I was never afraid to present it, I guess, because I felt it was good.”

She has a repurposed granary building on her property, which she uses to present impromptu art shows and as a venue to perform her music. “I just do it on occasion. That’s just for my family. But I’ll put up all the paintings that I have at home and I’ll go in there and I’ll bring my guitar out and sit on a stool and sing a few songs,” she said

“To me, it’s all connected so much. And a lot of the pieces that I developed have names from songs that I’ve written, so I think they should be hand in hand.”

Cameron has recorded three CDs of her music, the most recent one recorded with other musicians remotely during 2020. She has just released a video of “Down Goes The Sun,” from the album of the same name.

“The song always felt to me like a celebratory song, and it allowed me the inspiration to create a joyful experience for those viewing the video. The story of youth, positivity,

and the passage of time was the theme I had envisioned for this production,” she said.

Above all, she says, the joy of art is in the process of creating it.

“I guess it’s the thrill of it all. Even when I was a little kid, I remember the first drawing I did that really moved me. And it was just a silly thing where a little girl had curly hair and you just make these marks with your pencil. And I went, ‘oh, my God, that’s fantastic.’

 “And I still feel that excitement when I do something that I love. Whether it’s music or art or gardening or photography or whatever, if it thrills me, then it’s worth it for me.”

Rose-Marie Cameron with some of her artwork at the Bonnyville C2. JEFF GAYe