One of Sharon Lam's favourite pieces is her depiction of Olive Olio's in Cadboro Bay. (Courtesy of Sharon Lam)

Saanich artist uses drawing to heal from mother’s death

Sharon Lam launched her art business in September

In the last months of her mother’s life, Sharon Lam started drawing the places they had been together. From neighbourhood coffee shops and nearby lending libraries to local beaches, it was a way to revisit happy memories at a time when there were few memories left to make.

In the year since her mother passed away from ovarian cancer, Lam has continued with her pieces. Now, they’re a form of healing.

“It makes it into a more digestible form of grief for me to draw these memories out instead of feeling overwhelmed by them.”

Sharon Lam and her family sitting outside Olive Olio’s in Cadboro Bay. (Courtesy of Sharon Lam)

They’re also a sort of time capsule for 26-year-old Lam, who fears how much she’ll still be able to remember 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

READ ALSO: Cost for cancer-fighting drugs triples in Canada but still no national drug plan

At first, this was the sole purpose of the drawings – to provide a small amount of joy to Lam and her family. But when the pandemic hit in March, and Lam’s previous work as a banquet supervisor ceased, she decided to transform her art into something more.

Using her commerce degree and the help of multiple entrepreneurial friends, she launched her online store Art by Sharon Lam in December 2020, one year after her mother’s passing. She creates the majority of her pieces using digital illustration apps on her iPad and sometimes dabbles with watercolours.

“It’s been a very constructive way for me to deal with those emotions. Turning it into a project makes it a little less daunting, I guess.”

READ ALSO: Touching scene with veteran inspires Victoria artist to paint Remembrance Day series

Looking back on her life with her mom, Lam said the importance of the community meeting places in which they spent time has become very clear.

One of those was the Dutch Bakery.

When she was younger, Lam’s parents owned the Japanese restaurant, Tombo, on the corner of Douglas and Fisgard streets and, each day at the end of the lunch rush, Lam’s mother would take them for elephant ear cookies at the Dutch Bakery. In the years since, the bakery has stopped making the treat, and Lam said no other elephant ear cookie has ever tasted the same.

So, when she was commissioned earlier this year to do a drawing of the bakery as a Christmas gift for the owner’s husband, Lam knew there was only one form of payment she wanted – the elephant ear cookies.

Lam said the owner has promised to bake her a batch in the new year. Like her drawings, she knows they will be a bittersweet memory.

Her artwork can be found at artbysharonlam.com.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria residents share positive pandemic experiences


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

ArtartistCancerCoronavirusentrepreneurGreater VictoriaSaanichwomen entrepreneurs

Just Posted

SIG
Policing amid pandemic challenging, says Sooke’s top cop

Mounties document reduction in property crime and impaired driving

Patrick OLeary won $1 million in the March 24 draw of the Lotto 6/49. (BCLC image)
Sooke man cashes $1-million lottery ticket

The excavator operator had to look twice to confirm the win

(Black Press Media file photo)
Gas leak at Colwood Corners

Emergency crews on scene

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Victoria police will be working to arrest as many people with active warrants as possible during #VicPDWarrantWednesday May 12. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police aim to make sweeping arrests during #VicPDWarrantWednesday

Officers working to locate people with active arrest warrants

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. in Courtenay is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used in a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Vancouver Island residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Most Read