Adam Meikle takes his passion for painting to the Roots and Blues Festival every year and shares it with others.
For the fourth consecutive year, Adam, co-owner of Meikle Studios Social Art House with his spouse Jenna, paints large portraits of musicians featured at the festival.
This year, for the first time, he created portraits of not one but three performers.
First was Canadian icon, Valdy.
“Because it’s Valdy. He’s pretty interesting, there’s a lot of history, a lot of Canadian culture wrapped up in Valdy,” Adam explained.
Set up near the children’s area, the four-by-four-foot canvas, painted from a magazine photo as a reference, took him two-and-half hours to create.
Valdy came by to see it, and “he thought it was pretty neat.”
Unfortunately he stood a little too close to the wet oil paint during a photo.
In his characteristic down-to-earth fashion, Valdy knelt on the ground beside Adam to rub his red shirt with lavender oil to remove the stains.
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The next portrait featured Tonye Aganaba.
“I watched her last night. I found it awesome. I coudn’t get enough, really,” he said of the performance.
And the third, Dawn Pemberton.
“Her voice is incredible. Her hair was funky – it just looked like a fun painting.”
The two musicians saw their portraits as they were set up backstage, but Adam wasn’t there to speak to them.
All three portraits are now hanging in his downtown studio.
He and Jenna will give half the proceeds from Aganaba’s portrait to multiple sclerosis initiatives.
In years past, Adam has painted Eric Bib, Kenny Wayne and Colin James. Wayne wanted his portrait in his home, while Bib’s painting is at the Meikles’ home.
Adam, Jenna and their three children — Carson, 15, Nicole, 13, and Keely, 11 — moved to Salmon Arm from Grande Prairie, Alta. four years ago. So did Adam’s parents and brothers.
Adam had been working in construction. When they came to the Shuswap, he and Jenna were truly following a dream.
“We’ve always talked about owning a shop of some kind and this was the most logical. To work off our talents — or passions,” said Adam.
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Adam began drawing at a young age, displaying a talent that was recognized by others.
“To be able to create something from nothing, I found it fascinating. I thought, ‘I could probably do that.’”
Adams says their children are also artistic, as is Jenna.
“She’s pretty good at painting and drawing – better than she thinks she is,” he smiled. “But she has other passions. She plays music, loves to write — and research.
“She manages and I teach,” he said of the art house.
At Roots and Blues, Jenna and the kids ran a Spin Art booth, where children could come and drop paint on a piece of paper while it was spinning on a bicycle. Although such contraptions cost about $700 to buy, the Meikles’ once again used their creativity, this time revamping a bicycle to create the same effect.
Jenna concurs that the move to Salmon Arm is still a dream.
“I’m almost speechless,” she said. “We lived in Grande Prairie for nine-and-a-half years — yes, this is definitely an upgrade. I can’t think of one thing I don’t love about Salmon Arm.”