Local artist Jacqueline Dunn is on the other side of the world this week for a solo show in Tianjin, China.
Dunn has always loved to paint, and after retiring from her teaching career two years ago, kicked her painting into high gear.
"It's non stop," she says. "I don't even breath. I paint one every three days."
Dunn taught at various schools in Delta for 35 years, including the last 20 as an art teacher at Sands Secondary in North Delta.
"I've always been a crazy, impassioned artist," she says with a laugh.
After retiring, she joined the South Delta Artists Guild and began showing some of her works around town.
"It's been a great, great thing for me," she says about joining the guild.
Her passion for painting was taken to the next level earlier this year when a Chinese art dealer approached her. Dunn says she thought the man and his wife were just interested in buying some of her paintings. However, the man approached her about commissioning 40 paintings for a solo show in China.
Dunn agreed and has been working on the paintings since March.
While she typically paints mostly landscapes, forestscapes and gardens, the man asked her to incorporate images of Tianjin's buildings and bridges into some of the works.
He has traveled to Tsawwassen several times since March to pick up the paintings. Dunn took the last few with her as she flew to China for the show, which will consist of 20 pieces showcasing the bridges and architecture of Tianjin and another 20 depicting the landscape and architecture of B.C. The project has forced Dunn, who works mostly in oil and acrylic, to expand her horizons.
She learned how to write some Chinese characters and incorporated more colour into her work. Dunn will spend eight days in China.
In addition to the art show, the trip will include a visit to the ancient city of Xi-An, the Great Wall and a Chinese opera.
Dunn says she hopes her story will encourage and inspire other artists who feel they are struggling.
"Whatever it is that lights your soul on fire, you do it," she says.