From left: Albert Munro and Yvonne Maximchuk show off the pottery and paintings they brought down Saturday, March 3 from their Gilford Island studio to show at the Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply. — Adam Kveton Photo

Artists bring roosters and the view from Gilford Island

Painter and ceramic-artist couple showing at Qualicum Art Supply

Sometimes it takes 13 exploding roosters to get the hang of something.

For others, it’s a lifetime of reflecting one’s world through watercolour and acrylic, and learning something more about that world every time.

That’s a bit how Albert Munro and Yvonne Maximchuk work.

Maximchuk — a prolific painter primarily of landscapes of her home near Broughton Archipelago — and Munro — a ceramic artist who pushes the boundaries of what clay wants to do — have made the careful journey from Gilford Island to north Vancouver Island and on down to the Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply (206 First Ave. West) to show their work.

The pieces consist of some newer work by both artists, with Maximchuk bringing both watercolour and acrylic pieces full of vibrant hues and the sea featured in just about all of them.

Munro is showing wide-bottomed, thin-necked pieces, along with bowls featuring animals painted by Maximchuk with a crackly lichen glaze. But the most eye-catching pieces may very well be Munro’s three ceramic roosters.

Consisting of more than 100 pieces each, the roosters were one of Munro’s more recent challenges, and they were that, explained the pair.

“He will strive and strive and strive, like 13 exploding roosters… that’s persistence,” said Maximchuk of her husband’s work ethic.

Maximchuk taught Munro to pot about 16 years ago, but after eight or nine years, had taught him everything she knew.

After taking a class and learning from a Texan potter, he learned to throw large, rounded forms with one hand.

“Big bellies,” said Munro.

“This is a key part of all these pieces,” said Maximchuk.

Whether it’s bowls with wide brims, or those deep, wide bellies, Munro is “always pushing the clay to do something a little more than it wants to do.”

With feathers around the neck and long tail feathers sticking out, and a light, bright gold colour on two of the three birds, the roosters are both eye-catching and time-consuming.

“There’s about 24 to 30 hours in each one of those,” said Munro. Once he’s made real his idea, it’s onto the next challenge he comes up with for himself, said Maximchuk.

Whereas, for herself, what she sees around her is an endless source of inspiration, she said.

Primarily a landscape artist who also paints animals and people, Maximchuk said she’s always been scribbling and drawing, and is fascinated by the world around her — especially the Broughton Archipelago and her home on Gilford Island.

“I just look at the world and I’m flabbergasted. It’s so beautiful and amazing, and profoundly fascinating and interconnected,” she said.

Though some might wonder how an artist can remain interested in painting landscapes for so long (“I know, like, wouldn’t you get bored?” quipped Maximchuk), she said her wonder at nature’s beauty hasn’t faltered, nor her urge to paint it.

“Just through being an artist, I find out about all kinds of things,” she said, explaining how pottery has led her to learning about chemistry, math and archeology, and painting has got her interested in learning about fish, birds, bees, clouds and so forth.

In addition to painting, Maximchuk is also an author and art teacher.

Asked whether their work is an effort to share the beauty they see with the world, or just an urge, Munro and Maximchuk said they’re pretty selfish.

“What we want to do is what we do,” said Munro.

Though, when she’s writing, Maximchuk said she reads over her work to try and understand how others might hear it, with painting, “I have no concern whatsoever with how someone else might see it.

“It’s like, ‘Do you love it? Do you hate it? There it is, the way I made it,’” she said, quoting a former boyfriend.

Art is how they occupy themselves, said Maximchuk. “And if you’re lucky enough that how you occupy yourself, people are willing to trade you money for it, what could be better?”

The pair are now showing their work at the Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach. To learn more about Maximchuk, go to www.yvonnemaximchuk.com.

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