I had the opportunity this weekend to rub elbows with some of the West Coast’s most well known artists at the opening reception of the 16th Annual Painters at Painter’s event at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, on May 29 & 30. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, years ago, Bob Wright, the chieftain of the Oak Bay Marine Group, conceived of the idea of bringing together a group of Canadian artists to showcase their work, after having seen a fantastic collection of art in the south of France at the Colombe D’or Hotel. The result has been an event that not only displays their work, but has a full schedule of workshops and presentations that would satisfy the need of any art enthusiast.
There are only a select number of artists chosen to participate in this event and with the passing of Glenn Howarth, a new member was added this year. I had the pleasure of meeting this most recent member, Suzanne Northcott from Fort Langely, who introduced herself to us. She explained that the applicants submitted three images and a bio, then it was up to the other artists to vote on who they favoured. Her sister Janice Robertson has been participating in the show for several years and her brother-in-law Alan Wylie has been with it since the beginning, making it almost a family affair.
The artists all certainly come with a good pedigree, as demonstrated in the gorgeous
full colour and glossy catalogues we received from one of the organizers, Jill Smillie, Oak Bay Marine’s Director of Marketing, that includes bios of each artist and an example of their work. Jill said that she was extremely pleased with how well the show had been coming together this year; from the placement of the artwork to the number of artists who were able to attend – all but one out of 33 were there.
The collection of work is certainly impressive and worthy of the attention it receives. Situated around the lovely Painter’s property, now in full bloom are huge tents to house the artists’ work, and both the upper and lower levels of the main lodge are also used to showcase the exhibits. We visited the lower level, and it was heartening to see so many well executed and gorgeous landscapes; and interesting to see how many artists were working in oil after it had been abandoned for several years by many painters in favour of watercolours and acrylics. The collection included an especially stunning still life by painter Mickie Acierno (see photo) and an exquisite sculpture by Maarten Schaddelee.
The Friday evening reception, replete with wine, cheese and a witty introductory speech from Wright himself, was just a jump start to a weekend devoted to thinking about art, discussing art and enjoying art. Wright commented that he recently had his portrait painted by one of the participants, David Goatley, who has also been commissioned to do a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. All in all, just being there is stimulating and enough to make a person want to pull out those stiff paintbrushes and dusty canvases and tackle that five year old project again!!