Finding art in produce

Qualicum Beach-Local artist gets inspired at the grocery store

Local artists Deborah Daffé’s still life work can be found at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.

Local artists Deborah Daffé’s still life work can be found at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.


Some artists gaze out to sea for inspiration, others find their subject matter in their gardens, but local artist Deborah Daffé hits the local produce sections.

“The idea just came to me: I’m going to go to the Safeway, the closest grocery store, to the produce department. And I just wandered around picking up all kinds of different vegetables,” she said. This was about 15 years ago when she lived in Calgary and wanted to paint a basket of vegetables to hang in her new home. Today she continues her tours of local produce sections, picking out unusual shaped fruits and vegetables that produce nice shadows to use as her models.

Daffé’s still life work is currently hanging for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.

Daffé was born in Edmonton and has spent most of her life in Calgary. She’s been painting since she was a child and throughout her time in school won a slew of competitions for her work. She won scholarships to attend art classes at local galleries, often the only youth in the room, and that has been the extent of her art training. Daffé worked with watercolours at a young age, switched to oils, and settled on acrylics in her teens. Over the years Daffé has done a lot of commission work on the side, while working regular hours at other jobs, but today she paints full time. Beyond painting deep purple eggplants, shiny red apples and less-than-perfect pears, Daffé paints landscapes, and said she enjoys painting children.

“[Children] are like a blank canvas, they are innocent little creatures and they are all beautiful.”

Daffé moved to the area in 2011 and upon entering her first show with the local Federation of Canadian artists chapter, won an award of excellence. She has since won another award in a local FCA juried show and one at an FCA show in Vancouver. She also painted a semi-abstract beach scene of kids playing Qualicum Beach which was selected for permanent display at Nanaimo Regional Hospital’s emergency department.

Besides The Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply, Daffé’s work can be seen at The Qualicum Beach Coastal Community Credit Union and The Old School House Arts Centre.