Sonja Cuming Adams raised funds for The Salvation Army’s community and family services in Peterborough, Ont., with a two-day art show last October.

The fundraiser featured nearly 100 of her paintings and was held at the Peterborough Salvation Army church. All proceeds went to the Army’s Christmas fundraising effort.

“I’m just so pleased that I can use my talents to raise some money for those in need,” Sonja says. “I’m just thrilled.”

The 92-year-old watercolour artist was nicknamed The Lockside Painter by her neighbours on Lockside Drive in Peterborough.

She grew up in Cameron Falls, a remote village in northern Ontario, and developed a love for painting at a young age. Most of her paintings are landscapes from all over the province, along with France.

“We always played outdoors and in the forest,” Sonja explains. “I love that venue. I love painting outdoors.”

She has had several successful shows in Canada, the United States and France, and was the art co-ordinator for Le Monastere, a destination for artists in southern France, where she painted yearly, and taught at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont.

A Culmination

Sonja’s daughter, Jeanette Sanderson, explains that her mother has always supported The Salvation Army and wanted to give back.

“We believe in the good work that they do for the community, and she wanted to do something special with her paintings,” Jeanette says. “And so, they agreed to have this show and sale in support of The Salvation Army.”

There is a big need for organizations such as The Salvation Army, especially around the holidays, Jeanette notes.

“Families are really having a hard time lately with the prices of groceries and clothing,” she says.

When the doors were first opened to the public, there were already quite a few people lined up to see the show.

“My style is loose realism. I like to know what it is, but I like to paint it in a loose manner,” Sonja says.

The light in France is especially lovely, explains her daughter, and that’s reflected in many of these watercolour paintings.

Proceeds from the sales of the paintings went to the local Salvation Army community and family services, helping support programs aiding families in need, including a breakfast program, a food bank and Christmas assistance.

“This art exhibit is a culmination of my mom’s life’s work,” Jeanette says. “When people came in, they saw the things that my mom has loved throughout her lifetime and has portrayed in these beautiful paintings.”

Reprinted from The Peterborough Examiner, October 21, 2022

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