Darlena Warhurst-Metz was born Darlene Warhurst in Calgary,
Alberta on March 14, 1956. She was inspired early on at age
three by characters like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble,
and by age six was cartooning these loyal subjects, as well
as many others. For much of her teenage years she continued
to practice and excel at her passion for art and decided to
concentrate on drawing one of her greatest loves: horses.
By the early 1980's Darlena was working mostly with oil paints
and was beginning her western art career by painting wildlife,
cowboys and horses. Her inspiration to begin painting pastel
portraits of the First Nations people of the North American
West came when she attended a show by family friend Harley
Brown “It really turned my head…I was once told by an art teacher
never to do portraits, and I was enough of a rebel to do them
anyway”. Fortunately her rebelliousness paid off and with Harley
Brown's encouragement and criticism as well as other inspirational
artists like Charles M. Russell, Fred Remington and Nicholas
de Grandmaison, Darlena was able to perfect her art work and
sail to a higher level and capture these moments in history.
In 1981 Darlena studied at the Victoria College of Art under
Ivy Kent and had their first two-woman show which was very
successful. She also studied art in Scottsdale, Arizona under
Harley Brown, and later attained an active membership with
the Federation of Canadian Artists and became involved in several
By the mid-1980's Darlena had held several two-woman shows
and a very impressive one-woman show at the Sooke Region Museum
in November of 1985 which attracted a record crowd.
However, 1986 proved to be Darlena's year for high recognition
with her incredible pastel portraits entered into Sooke's largest
juried show known as Fine Arts '86. At the opening Darlena
sold out of everything and was later honored with winning Most
Popular of Show in three of the six categories presented.
By the early 1990's, Darlena had four of her original pieces
transformed into limited edition prints and was honored to
have her originals displayed in the Sooke Region Museum, the
Sooke Public Arts Collection, government buildings, galleries,
as well as to have sold pieces through The Calgary Stampede & Exhibition,
auctions, and numerous private collections worldwide.
After many setbacks and overcoming many obstacles including
the loss of her son, her diagnosis with Epilepsy, her battles
with migraine headaches and permanent damage to her right arm
as a result of two separate car accidents, Darlena slowly began
to emerge again in the new millennium as the “come-back kid” who
quickly proved that she never lost her touch when it came to
capturing the heart and souls of the First Nations people.
Darlena reinvented herself by taking her creativity to a new
level by choosing to work with clay, ink, charcoal and her
traditional use of pastel with brighter and bolder colors than
before. This new stage in her career did not come unnoticed
her pastel portrait of an eagle for the Cowichan Valley Film
Society was used in a documentary for local Cowichan artist
Simon Charlie. As well in the spring of 2001 she was accepted
into the Canadian Institute of Portrait artists, and was one
in a handful to be recognized in the Institute by their High
In 2002, Darlena completed many original works of art before
her death on April 28 th including four ink portraits completed
on the morning of her passing.
Darlena always strived for the highest standards and accuracy
in her pieces as well as the powerful feelings she felt from
the souls of her subjects. With a professional career which spanned
over 25 years, Darlena Warhurst-Metz will not soon be forgotten
and is remembered as one of Canada's great Canadian artists.