For his first solo exhibition, Nanaimo painter Tom Shardlow is showcasing scenic views from his travels across the province.
From Nov. 3 to 29 Shardlow presents Wild Places of B.C. at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville. Along with having his work on display, Shardlow said he’ll be at the MAC most days painting and a ‘meet the artist’ day will take place on Nov. 14.
Among the locales featured in the show are Gabriola Island, Ucluelet and places in Northern B.C. Some of the paintings were done on site while others are based off of photographs.
“I take tons of reference photos,” Shardlow said. “I’ve always got my camera with me so they’ll be from years back. Some [paintings] are from photographs I took 20 years ago so I’ll dig it up and I’ll think, ‘That’ll make a good painting’ and work on that.”
Some of Shardlow’s travels came as a result of his work as a biologist. Although he studied at what is now the Emily Carr School of Art and Design and always intended to be a full-time artist, Shardlow quickly discovered that wouldn’t cover his expenses.
“You get a rude awakening and you realize you can’t pay your rent and you’re going to starve so like every artist you’ve got to find other work,” Shardlow said. “So I went into sciences at UBC because I wanted to work outdoors so I got a degree in biology and studied fish and wildlife for most of my career and when I was out there I would sketch or draw.”
When he’s outdoors, Shardlow looks for landscapes with interesting shapes and composition. He also favours the autumnal palette and is drawn to the way the sky is reflected upon bodies of water. He said people do not figure prominently in Wild Places of B.C.
“I think I have one painting with a figure in it,” he said. “I just try to get the feeling of wilderness, the wildness, and if you put people in it it changes the complexion entirely.”
Shardlow said he’ll have up to 50 paintings of various sizes in the exhibition and added that there’s already a lot of interest in his latest body of work.
“Since I’ve put the word out about the show I’ve had more people come to my studio and they’re buying [paintings] from the studio prior to the show,” he said. “So I’m going to have to stop that because I need inventory for the show.”
WHAT’S ON … Tom Shardlow presents Wild Places of B.C. at the McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan Street, Parksville, from Nov. 3 to 29.