Inspired by sun and shore
An art exhibit featuring two well-respected painters at the Old School House Arts Centre pays tribute to the beauty of this area, to local shores and to the sun.
Dan Gray has lived in the area for 22 years and throughout that time he’s been painting out on location, under the sun.
“Most of your readers have seen me at the shore one time or another,” he said.
Gray has been painting from life for close to 50 years, he said. He has painted with oil and watercolours in the past but in ’74 he found the “juice” he was looking for when he began working outside with pastels. In 50 years he’s only used a photograph to complete his work twice.
“I find photographs give you boundaries you can't go beyond,” he said. “I’m trying to say the way I feel when I’m standing on the shore, I use the bones of the landscape as my map, but really its about emotions.”
Along with Gray’s pastel paintings of the area, David Meekison has three oil paintings in the show, including two large pieces entitled Everything Under the Sun. To create those pieces he used oil paints and handmade stencils and tools, like a garden hose, washtub handles and a hammer. The results are two vibrant pieces complete with a slew of images like sun beams, butterflies, planets and numbers.
Meekison has spent the majority of his life in Toronto but has also lived in Italy, New York and Berlin, and he currently resides in London, England.
Meekison has family living in Qualicum Beach and he vacations in the area in the summer months. He has a studio in his home and that is often where his work begins to take form.
“When I come to Qualicum I get inspired a lot just by being outside and near the mountains,” he said.
In the art show Meekison also has a smaller abstract oil piece and a metal sculpture.
Most of Gray’s pieces in the show were created recently, including a scene from Little Mountain, low tide at French Creek, Summer Solstice at Beachcomber, and the car show street dance in Qualicum Beach, among many others. Gray said there was a street dance in Qualicum Beach about 100 years ago when the road was first paved and a photograph at the Museum depicts the scene. His painting is reminiscent of that historic dance.
“It was kind of a misty cool evening and [the painting] hearkens back,” he said.
Gray said he and Meekison have great respect for eachother’s work, and although their styles are quite different, it has some similarities, Meekison said.
“The one thing that Dan and I share—he’s got sun in all his work and I actually have the sun on my work.”
Gray and Meekison’s work is up at TOSH until Sept. 6. For more on TOSH visit www.theoldschoolhouse.org or call 250-752-6133.