The art work presented at the Station House Gallery this month by Ed and Marta Deak has extra special meaning for the gallery.
Except for three paintings, which will be donated to the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, this generous artistic couple is donating all proceeds from the sale of their work to the gallery.
Marta’s paintings are delicate reflections of flowers, birds, and landscapes and Ed’s paintings are more dramatic reflections of landscapes and the nude human form.
Both Ed and Marta have had a lifelong affair with various forms of arts and crafts but are featuring their oil paintings in this show.
Marta has been specializing in and teaching a number of crafts for many years, while also working on her creative arts.
After settling in Big Lake Marta taught small groups of women in various crafts of making something creative from whatever was on hand — Christmas ornaments from egg shells, painted wooden hangers, quilting, and sharing skills in gift wrapping, bow making, and flower arranging she learned while working for Birks and Woodwards in Vancouver.
“Painting came later,” Marta says. “Whatever I do it comes from the heart. I love to work with water colours as well.”
Ed started taking professional art lessons in 1942, at the age of 15, while growing up in Hungary.
At 17, while still in high school, he was already working as an animator on cartoon movies.
Ed and Marta met in Obertraun, Austria in 1945, when Ed was an 18-year-old prisoner of war recuperating in a military hospital from a leg wound he sustained in Poland.
Marta was a 17-year-old Hungarian refugee from Romania who was helping her parents with the task of cleaning the hospital.
She says they worked only for food because money had absolutely no value in those days.
“It was just to keep us alive,” Marta says. “When I wrote my story, what I could remember, it was a tremendously emotional experience for me.”
Despite the difficult times it was love at first sight for Ed and Marta.
They were married in Cambridge, England March 30, 1951 and moved to Vancouver in 1955, then to their ranch at Big Lake in 1979.
In Vancouver Ed had his own cabinet making company and in his spare time was a car rally enthusiast. He was the navigator for the Nissan team and says it was a rally through the interior of B.C. that eventually resulted in the couple moving to the Cariboo.
“As a kid I was always dreaming about forests and lakes, which is completely different from the environment I lived in,” Ed says. “… Just past Clinton I felt that I had come home. It’s a different world all together.”
They first bought a cabin at Hawkins Lake. Then after taking a camping trip to Barkerville and Likely area, they found and bought their ranch at Big Lake.
They each have an art studio but continue to work seven days a week, ranching, building and making furniture for themselves and on their respective artwork.
They have three grown children living in Armstrong, Oliver and Vancouver, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Ed also writes a weekly column on economics and politics for the Gold River Record. He doesn’t have much use for the current governments in power.
“Governments are giving everything away and we are paying for it,” Ed says.
He says they have been members of the Station House Gallery Society for 30 years and decided to donate the proceeds from the sale of their paintings in efforts to help sustain the gallery in the face of recent government funding cuts.
“We thought we would contribute what we can,” Ed says.
Although they rarely exhibit their work, Ed and Marta’s paintings can be found in collections all over the world.
Their show at the Station House Gallery runs until Sept. 29 and is aptly called The Gift.