Barbara departed this world peacefully in her sleep at Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre in Edmonton, early in the evening on Friday, January 17, 2014, in her 98th year.
Barbara was the daughter of Canadian historical illustrator C.W. Jefferys and his wife Callie. Raised in York Mills, Toronto, she took art courses at the Ontario College of Art and was mentored by her father and other notable Toronto artists during that rich cultural period in the first half of the 20th century. During this time, she produced several of the black & white drawings used in the C. W. Jefferys trilogy – The Picture Gallery of Canadian History.
She moved to Edmonton after her marriage to Orval Allen (later a judge of the Court of Canadian Citizenship). They had 5 children: Claudia (the late Robert) Cochrane of Penetanguishene, Ontario; Jocelyn (Brion) Aubrey of Cavan Township, Ontario; Leslie (Moreland) Lynn of Penetanguishene, Ontario); Jeff (Marja) Allen of Edmonton, Alberta; and Anthony (Nancy) Allen of Edmonton, Alberta; followed by 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren with one more on the way.
After their children were grown, Barbara and Orval built a house on an acreage overlooking Hastings Lake, east of Edmonton, where they lived together until Orval’s death in 1981. Barbara, aged 66 at the time, remained on by herself in the country for the following 27 years, only moving reluctantly into Edmonton when she became frail in 2008.
During those years alone, she blossomed as a watercolour artist, producing a prolific body of work and mounting 8 exhibitions. Her work can be found in private and public collections in Alberta and Ontario. She specialized in landscapes where she could see beauty in scenes often missed by the casual observer. The subject matter was often of her lovely property which was portrayed from a multitude of vantage points and throughout all seasons. She was also a frequent visitor to the Georgian Bay area where she enjoyed painting in a different light.
She will be remembered as a witty, unconventional woman who made remarkable use of her talents, while always finding time for her beloved children, grandchildren and friends.
A public celebration of her life in the form of a retrospective exhibition of some of her finest paintings will be held on her birthday on June 7, 2014 in Edmonton. Further details will be available on her website – www.bjallen.ca. For those who wish, donations to the Strathcona Place Society of Edmonton or Shepherd’s Care Foundation would be gratefully accepted.