Old Ottawa East loses a bright light

The late Kathleen McCrea, shown at the Old Ottawa East Art Tour in August 2020 along with several of her contemporary icon pieces, was one of the founders of the event. Photo by Lorne Abugov

The late Kathleen McCrea, shown at the Old Ottawa East Art Tour in August 2020 along with several of her contemporary icon pieces, was one of the founders of the event. Photo by Lorne Abugov

Mainstreeter Staff

Kathleen McCrea, life-long resident of Old Ottawa East, respected multidisciplinary artist, and co-founder of the Old Ottawa East Art Tour passed away on September 5, 2021, of cancer. Kathleen had lived in the same house on Clegg Street since the mid-1950s, the childhood home she shared with her parents and four brothers. In memories shared by friends and family in The Ottawa Citizen, Kathleen was described again and again as creative, curious, big-hearted, fun, enthusiastic, joyful, and as a person with a great sense of humour who took a keen interest in others. One neighbour called her: “a bright light in Old Ottawa East.” One friend called her: “Canadian Picasso.”

After retiring from a career at Industry Canada, Kathleen continued to shine through her art. She graduated from the Ottawa School of Art’s three-year program where, according to long-time friend, neighbour, and fellow artist Rosie Cusson: “Kathleen studied and excelled in the original traditional Renaissance style of painting with gold leaf, making the traditional glue for the framing, and using special paints.” Kathleen did potting and sculpting for many years. “Several of her sculptures enhanced her lovely garden,” Cusson said. Kathleen had been involved in the Nepean Visual Arts Centre, the Artist Centre at the Old Town Hall Community Centre, the New Edinburgh Community & Art Centre, and “The Bottom Line” Life Drawing Group at the Sandy Hill Community Centre. She was also a frequent visitor to The National Gallery and its many special exhibitions. “She was a painter in all mediums and exhibited her work at many different art shows.”

“Her exceptional works were studied and admired at last year’s Art Tour, and many were sold,” Cusson said. Kathleen planned to exhibit at this summer’s Art Tour but had to withdraw due to illness. Her most recent works were reverse painting on glass. The glass was sourced from recycled picture frames.

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