It is with the most profound sadness that Irena’s family share the news of her passing.
Irena, also known as the artist Irmic, lived a full and dynamic life. An award winning artist, Irena was known mainly for her watercolour technique, which is based on the transparency of overlapping hues earning her accolades from across the world, throughout her long career.
Born in Lithuania, Irena’s artistic talent was apparent from a very young age. Her childhood was traumatic - WWII and the Russian invasion of Lithuania forced her and her mother to flee their home and live as refugees for 5 years before emigrating to Canada through a UNICEF program.
Irena’s life was intrinsically connected to her work as an artist. She once told an interviewer “art protects you from the hurt. There was too much hurt in my life. I painted for survival.”
Her life here in Sarnia, however, was happy and fulfilling. She was a lover of nature and beauty in all forms and fell in love with Canada. In the early 1950’s she married Oswald Mickunas who she had known back in Lithuania who had also had to emigrate following the war. They had 2 children, Peter and Sabina, and 3 beautiful granddaughters Kaila, Amy and Lara.
Irena poured herself into her art, receiving her first award in 1964 from the Chatham-Kent Public Art Gallery and many more awards swiftly followed throughout the decades. It was once said that Irena’s painting is an expression of the emotional impulses she receives from the creative forces of life. She once explained that “the greatest revelation came from looking into a microscope, seeing the essence of nature within the nature, seeing the hidden world in its purest, transparent colour and form”.
Lawrence LeCapelain, a close friend and colleague of Irena’s once wrote “to know Irena’s work is to be in contact with the sublime. Her awareness of beauty has become so powerful that her work commands a sense of awe and wonder”.
Irena was an artist in every sense of the word and strived to make the world around her full of beauty, laughter, kindness and love. She was admired and much loved by her family and a multitude of friends and will be sorely missed.
The family would like to mourn this deep loss in private, but for those who may want to make a tribute they ask that a donation to one of her favourite charities be made in her name - Sarnia Humane Society or UNICEF Ukraine Emergency Fund.
Private arrangements have been entrusted to the D. J. Robb Funeral Home & Cremation Centre, 102 N. Victoria St, Sarnia, ON, N7T 5W9. Memories, photographs or messages of condolence may be shared through www.djrobb.on.ca
Links for donations:
UNICEF Ukraine – https://www.unicef.ca/en/ways-to-donate
Sarnia & District Humane Society www.sarniahumanesociety.ca