September 20, 2012 in Washington Voices

Painting offers outlet for Cavin’s active imagination

Jennifer Larue
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Painter Vicky Cavin is preparing to hang some of her whimsical work at the Manic Moon & More gallery at 1007 W. Augusta Ave. in north Spokane.
(Full-size photo)

Art quote of the week

“Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.”

Julia Cameron

About Manic Moon

Visit for more information, or you can find them on Facebook. Manic Moon’s hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays beginning Tuesday.

When Vicky Cavin was first introduced to art in elementary school, she was more than a little intimidated. She couldn’t draw and her color choices were frowned upon, so she put away her desire for bold colors and found other avenues of expression.

“There was still a part of me that had an active imagination and a need to express, so I turned to words – creating simple poems and short stories, and listened to lyrics in all kinds of music. In a way, it was my way of dealing with life’s challenges,” she said.

Cavin attended North Central High School. At first, she wanted to be a social worker. She settled on teaching, another way of helping others grow. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University and a master’s in education from Whitworth University. Still nagged by the desire for color and expression, she picked up a book on batiking and began creating colorful wall hangings which she started showing and selling at local venues.

As a teacher, she introduced her students to color, music and the power of expression.

“I saw firsthand how children responded when given even a small amount of time to connect with their creative energy,” she said. “Using bright, bold colored markers, they painted their pieces while listening to music and lyrics. Knowing that many children come to school burdened, watching their faces soften as they painted, taught me that something special was happening – some kind of connection was being made that could not be measured in the same way academics are.”

Cavin taught for 36 years. About 20 years ago, she started painting with soft pastels, a less lengthy process than batik, which offered an immediacy she found fulfilling. She retired from teaching six years ago and has since been creating one pastel after another; flowing and colorful re-creations of a moment in time, an emotion or a story. Light-hearted and whimsical or deeply spiritual, Cavin’s creations have the ability to bring about a primordial feeling in a viewer.

Recently, Cavin has started a new chapter in her story: She has become a guild member with a dozen or so local and regional artists at Manic Moon & More, an artists’ emporium dedicated to the creative spirit to let their creative flag fly. The Victorian home has rooms filled with recycled furniture, organic food, wearable art and artwork by Cavin and others.

“I appreciate the infinite possibilities that art brings,” Cavin said.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email