‘It’s empowering’: Watercolour students prepare work for upcoming gallery

‘Waterways 2019 - Adventures in Watercolour’ showing at Raintree Studios on June 9

The walls at Raintree Studios will be wearing new paint this weekend as 15 students show off their watercolour work.

For students of Greg Swainson, it’s a chance to show their friends, relatives and neighbours what they’ve been up to.

This is the seventh annual student art show that Swainson has put on at his home gallery in Qualicum Beach.

“I just think it’s very rewarding for them to see, for the people who are just coming into the group and have only been painting for a year or two or three, gives them an idea of how far they can go,” said Swainson.

There are also benefits for those students who have been painting for much longer.

“It also gives the people who have been painting for a period of time a time to review where they came from,” he said. “With the idea that I used to paint like that, now I paint like this, I’m getting better.”

READ MORE: From a dirt floor to a stunning gallery

Deb Peters is a longtime painter with an art degree from UBC.

After retirement, she got back into painting in a serious way. Delicately tattooed birds fly up from her back to crest over her shoulder, and her laugh can be heard from across the room.

“This group is fun. We have a lot of fun doing group work together, and then celebrating what we’ve done. Seeing as we’ve been painting now for years, we’ve actually improved. We’re pretty happy,” said Peters.

“Having paintings up on the walls is great for exposure for those of us who want to keep moving forward. It’s fun for the people who are just doing it for the joy of painting, too. It’s empowering.”

For any artist, showing their work can also be nerve-wracking.

“It’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve, because you’re so exposed,” said Swainson. “Even if your friends and neighbours and relatives know that you’ve been painting, they don’t know how much you’ve been painting. They don’t see everything that you do.”

READ MORE: Watercolour students to hold one-day show, sale in Qualicum Beach

But getting unexpected feedback can be one of the most rewarding parts of a gallery exhibit.

“Everybody’s viewpoint of what’s the best is not necessarily what you think is the best,” said Swainson. “Because everyone’s taste is different. You can’t predict what people are going to like. You can’t predict what people are going to buy.”

The show runs on Sunday, June 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is free, and prices per painting range from approximately $100 to $400.

Swainson says that most will be priced below $200, and expects that there will be more than 100 original watercolour pieces.

The Raintree Gallery is located at 5101 West Island Highway, Qualicum Beach.



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