The first thing you notice when you walk into Lissie Borring’s Chemainus home is there are paintings everywhere.
That’s understandable considering she’s been doing artwork since her early teens and is approaching 90 years old – although you’d never know it – in March. You tend to accumulate a lot of work over such a long period of time.
She’s done literally thousands of paintings in her lifetime – selling some, giving some away and keeping more than enough to cover the walls in her home three or four times over.
“Every wall is full of paintings,” conceded daughter Ann Ahlgren, 70, while visiting her mom during the Christmas holidays from Kamloops.
Her last name notwithstanding, there’s nothing boring about Borring. She’s active all the time and also crochets, knits and sews in addition to painting.
“I’ve been to so many places and painted,” explained Borring, a member of the Crofton Art Group. “I paint just in the dining room and I have a room upstairs.”
Any space she can find is taken up as storage for her art supplies.
Borring was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and came to Canada in 1956. Her husband, Peter, had gone ahead two years earlier before Borring made the long trip with the kids.
She has five children – now ranging in age from 56 to 70. They lived in the Vancouver area for many years.
Borring lost her husband to Alzheimer’s disease 20 years ago and came to live in Chemainus about 13 years ago.
“It was too expensive in Coquitlam,” she conceded. A daughter living in Ladysmith made her take a look at this area.
Borring’s knack for painting of all types – oil, acrylic, watercolour – always came naturally, but she honed her skills even further at an art school in Copenhagen for four years during her teens, starting at 14.
“It was something I liked to do,” she explained.
Over the years, “I was always going to some courses and art schools,” Borring added.
There were gaps “in between because all the kids sometimes,” she said, but her love and talent for art always stood the test of time.
She kept so busy at one time, it was almost like a fulltime job. “At that time, I was like 30 years younger, too,” Borring laughed.
She attends Crofton Art Group sessions every Wednesday at the Crofton Seniors Centre. There are also two shows and sales each year plus workshops with professional instructors.
Borring sees it as a great social group.
“We just paint and have our lunch and coffee and yap away,” she said.
“Once a month we have a meeting of what goes in and the different shows we want to do.”
Some of the group’s work, including Borring’s, are displayed at Sunridge Place in Duncan and the Lodge on Fourth in Ladysmith care facilities. Those works are all available for sale.
Borring also belongs to the Chemainus Sketch Club so that keeps her schedule full.
In between all the painting, Borring maintains her other forms of handiwork.
“I sewed all my clothes,” she indicated. “I like to do everything.”
Despite the advancing years, Borring still has a steady hand and you can’t tell the difference between art she produced 20 years ago and yesterday. At the same time, she’s always receptive to innovative ideas and techniques.
“You always learn something new from everybody,” Borring conceded.