Feelin’ free to express herself on canvas

Elsie Griffiths brings her Free Spirited Painting to an exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville on March 27

Elsie Griffiths paints in Studio 9 at The Old School House in Qualicum Beach on Tuesdays

Elsie Griffiths paints in Studio 9 at The Old School House in Qualicum Beach on Tuesdays

On Tuesday, artist Elsie Griffiths was busy working on her oil painting in Studio 9 at The Old School House arts centre in Qualicum Beach.

It’s a regular gig for Griffiths, who paints there every Tuesday. She says she likes the structure of using the studio there, as it’s open to the public and keeps her focussed, as a result.

Normally, she would be working at home, creating both oils and the paintings she plans on highlighting at a show later this month.

On March 27, Griffiths takes her Free Spirited Paintings to the gallery at Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre (MAC). It’s a change of scenery, but part of what Griffiths calls an amazing art community in District 69.

“We moved to the area from Comox a couple of years ago,” she said, noting that’s where she really started painting again after a busy family life.

“This area has a great art community,” she continued. “It’s really nice.”

With that support, Griffiths will present Free Spirited Painting at the MAC from March 27 to April 28, with an opening reception set for Fri., March 30 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The style of work that she will hang on the walls is unique — something Griffiths said she learned in a workshop in Comox. It involves taking India ink and pouring it over paper. The ink is then manipulated as it dries and plastic wrap is used to cover it and help the ink take shape.

“I have an idea of what I want when I start,” she explained, “but the ink does the work.”

The ink flows over the paper, taking many shapes. Often it’s a landscape, but sometimes Griffiths sees faces or figures in the resulting patters. She then uses brushes and special tools — a squeeze bottle and a car detailing pen — to create the final image.

Then, she said she has to resist any urges to change the painting, as it takes three days to dry.

“I love it. It makes me feel free.”

The technique, Griffiths said, allows for more freedom in form and requires the artist to follow the ink.

“It’s a lot of what if, what will happen.”

Griffiths will have 38 pieces on display, including some of her oil work, Tuesday to Saturday at the MAC from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 27 to April 28.

For more about Griffiths, visit www.elsiegriffithsart.com.