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Awards show artist's talent no longer hidden

Yoon-Joo Kim can no longer claim that her talent is hidden even though that is the name of the school she frequents for art lessons.

Yoon-Joo Kim can no longer claim that her talent is hidden even though that is the name of the school she frequents for art lessons.

Heeding her high school teacher’s advice to become an artist, the 69-year-old is now a student at Hidden Talent, learning the methods of the old masters and making strides to becoming a new master herself. She has three new awards adorning some of her oil paintings, the result of a last minute decision to submit them to a contest put on by the Orchid Society of Alberta.

The retired nurse, originally from South Korea, garnered the prizes during the recent Orchid Fair held at Grant MacEwan University. The art exhibition and competition has been a fixture at the event for more than 20 years but it still catches a few people off guard. Encouraged by instructor Laura Watmough, Kim originally balked at the suggestion of entering the contest.

“I thought that I was not good enough,” she says with modesty.

Whatever reservations she had about the colours not coming out exactly the way she wanted, or being a novice and having her work judged against those with more experience, there was a moment when she just threw caution to the wind. When Kim heard there were not many entries by the day of the deadline for submissions, she made a last minute decision to enter the three orchid paintings, including one that features a gorgeous bouquet with a wedding ring embedded in it. The judging did not take long during the weekend fair.

If Kim was resistant about entering, she also was resistant about accepting success. When she got the call to collect her submissions, she was just happy to have it over and done with. That’s when she learned that she was also collecting three ribbons in the amateur senior category, including two first place finishes.

“Surprised,” she admitted, describing her reaction. Ever self-effacing and constantly striving to improve, she added, “I feel that people saw something I didn’t see. I still feel I’m not good enough.”

Kim’s winning submissions will be on display in the Spot Light Gallery at Hidden Talent until March 15. The school and studio is located on Chisholm Avenue. Call 780-419-2055 or visit for more information.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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