This mixed media piece by Elaine Prodor called Kijimuna (cropped for space) is an example of the type of experimentation that happens with the Wet Paint Art Group out of Comox, Black Creek and Campbell River. The group is showing at the MAC for the first time, with an exhibit that runs June 9 to July 14. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 9 from 1-3 p.m. — Submitted by Elaine Prodor

North Island art group holds first show at Parksville’s MAC

Friends in Comox, Campbell River, Black Creek emphasize experimentation, new work

There’s always new artwork coming out of the Wet Paint Art Group, and some of the group’s most recent work will be on display at the MAC from June 9 to July 14.

Though it’s the group’s first show at the McMillan Arts Centre (133 McMillan St., Parksville), the group has held its art show and sale for four years now, with a fifth show and sale coming up on August 25 and 26 at Saratoga Beach garden.

While the handful of artists (eight of which will have work at the MAC) create in a variety of media, styles and using many different subjects, the common link between all of them, said member Elaine Prodor, is that the group of friends is always encouraging one-another to keep experimenting and exploring new territory.

“That’s why we came up with the name Wet Paint Art Group, because every year we’re trying to show some new stuff,” said Prodor.

For this show, Prodor said there’s a variety of abstracted pieces involving foliage, landscapes, collage pieces using found images and incorporating a diverse subject matter. Much of the inspiration for representational work comes from nature and the human figure, said Prodor, as well as landscapes, macro views of fruit and foliage, and also close-up portraits of animals.

There are about 55 pieces in the show, she said, all from the last few years.

One of the advantages members of the group have experienced is support and encouragement in transitioning from one style or kind of art work to another, and focusing on creating a piece that satisfies the artist first, Prodor said.

She’s transitioned from creating representational work to more abstract pieces, as have a fair number of the group.

“I think it’s terrifying,” she said of making that switch.

“The status quo for art is to communicate through images that people recognize, so one has to kind of… jump off a cliff, or into the deep end into relying on experiments with colour palette, placement of elements, scale, texture, medium exploration and it’s a scary thing to present a different way of expression and interpreting a world.

“Sometimes it seems very weird and quirky, but I guess we’re trying to encourage each other to please ourselves first without worrying about how the public will perceive, accept or reject us,” said Prodor with a laugh from herself and other group members as they travelled to a friend’s home to paint.

When it comes to deciding whether or not she’s satisfied with her work, Prodor said she sticks to the advice given to her by Milton Glaser (known for creating the I heart NY logo).

“‘You’ll know you’ve done well when you surprise yourself,’ and I think that joy is unparalleled in the creative process for an artist,” Prodor said.

“It can take years or months to have that feeling where you kind of say to yourself, ‘Wow, I actually can’t believe I put that together,’ or ‘I painted that,’ or ‘I captured that likeness.’ I think that’s what we all strive for — in delighting and surprising ourselves, and therefore others in the end.”

Keeping focused on that goal is what the Wet Paint Art Group helps with, and getting its members excited for their next piece, said Prodor.

The Wet Paint Art Group’s exhibit at the MAC runs June 9 to July 14. For more info on the group and its members, go to www.wetpaintshowandsale.weebly.com.

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