Susan Schaefer with her painting God’s Palette. The painting is part of Schaefer’s touring exhibit Prairie Whispers which is at the McMillan Arts Centre for the month of February.

Susan Schaefer with her painting God’s Palette. The painting is part of Schaefer’s touring exhibit Prairie Whispers which is at the McMillan Arts Centre for the month of February.

February exhibits at the MAC in Parksville

The exhibits include a show by Susan Schaefer and the Group of Three exhibit featuring works by Elissa Anthony, Lloyd Major and Judy Maxwell

The McMillan Arts Centre is hosting two exhibits for the month of February.

The two exhibits include a solo show by Susan Schaefer and the Group of Three exhibit featuring works by Vancouver Island artists Elissa Anthony, Lloyd Major and Judy Maxwell.

The opening reception for the exhibits is Saturday, Feb. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the MAC (133 McMillan St., Parksville). There is a chance to chat with the artists.

Susan Schaefer’s solo exhibit features original paintings entitled Prairie Whispers. The exhibition is comprised of prairie-themed landscapes, funky old barns and equipment scattered across the landscape.

The Prairie Whispers exhibit started with the grain elevators, Schaefer said, when she was visiting her mom in the prairies and a neighbour wanted Schaefer to paint one of the elevators.

“Since then, I’ve had so many commissions and I’ve done lots of the Dog River elevator, which is in Rouleau — you know, the one from Corner Gas,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer said she comes across ideas for her paintings by chance.

“I’ll take a side road,” Schaefer said. “It takes me forever to get anywhere.”

The scenes all come from Schaefer’s love of the prairies. Schaefer said she lived in the prairies until graduation.

“Then like most kids, I couldn’t wait to get to the big city life. When I was 40, I went back to Saskatchewan,” said Schaefer, adding that for seven years she had “a little house on the prairies.”

Then in 2007, Schaefer said, she wanted to progress with her art, so she moved to the West Coast.

“I still go back and forth to Saskatchewan because I have family and friends there and a lot of connections,” she said.

Prairie Whispers is a touring exhibition, which made its debut in May 2015 at the Signal Hills Arts Centre in Weyburn, Sask. It then came back to Parksville for the Island Exposures exhibition before travelling back to Regina in summer 2016 for the Government House’s 125th anniversary.

When Schaefer started the exhibition, she said it wasn’t the plan to create a touring exhibition, but it’s since become the goal.

Schaefer, a Parksville resident, said the exhibition in its almost-two-year run has had a positive reaction.

“People love it because it’s colourful, it brings back a lot of fond memories whether they are from the prairies, or they visited grandma’s house and they grew up out there. Everybody has a story,” Schaefer said.

After its run at the MAC, Prairie Whispers will be heading to the Chapel Gallery in North Battleford, Sask. to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

For more information on Schaefer, visit www.youngatart.ca.

The Group of Three exhibit features work by Elissa Anthony, Lloyd Major and Judy Maxwell. The three artists have been friends for years and thought it was about time to do a joint show of their latest works.

All three artists are oil painters and specialize in landscapes of the Island, the Interior and the Prairies.

Elissa Anthony, a landscape artist who works in oil and acrylics, was born in Ontario and grew up in North Vancouver. In 1997, she moved to the Island which proved inspirational.

Since then, Anthony has worked and grown as an oil painter primarily in landscapes, but she segues into large formal floral, mixed-media, abstractions and funky fun stuff from time to time. Her style usually includes acrylic and oil in the same paintings.

When not painting herself, Anthony teaches oil and acrylic painting to adults in her studio, which is located in Bowser.

Lloyd Major, born in Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, had an interest in art from an early age. Major worked as a sign painter for many years. He’s owned art galleries in Parksville and Moose Jaw.

Now semi-retired, Major is still teaching for part of the week.

Judy Maxwell, who was born in Ottawa, said it wasn’t until she moved to Vancouver Island many years ago that she began painting. In the beginning, painting started as a hobby, she said, but with the teaching and encouragement of Major, oil painting became a daily practice. Maxwell said the Island has never-ending reference material, but she also has a special love for her time on the Prairies.

For more information on the two exhibits, visit www.mcmillartscentre.com.