Many of Arleen's paintings have been inspired by natural phenomena, such as the birth of stars or the Canadian Shield. Others stem from a struggle or injustice: the Armenian genocide, the shooting of Malala or the death of Federico Garcia Lorca. Some other pieces are a response to a traumatic experience: surviving a catastrophic house-fire.
Most of McCallum's work is alive with colour, energy and dense texture. She uses both oil and acrylic on canvas and panel and enjoys experimenting with unusual materials, such as lace, tarlatan, foil and gold leaf.