The large-scale oil painting created by Qualicum Beach artist Judy Button showcases her passion for sailing.

Painting the action of sailing

Artist had to find the courage to pick up art again after bad experiences

Judy Button may not hesitate when she goes to take the helm of a racing sailboat, but she didn’t have the same bravado when it came to picking up her arts supplies again.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I had a really bad experience in high school.”

The Qualicum Beach based painter need not have worried, however. After finally getting the courage to attend several art classes in the Toronto area in 2002 and plenty of practice after that, the painter recently landed her third show.

“She does beautiful work,” said Bonnie Luchtmeijer, who co-owns the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply, the space where some of Button’s large-scale oil works currently reside. “She just came in and gave me her business card.”

Not surprisingly, a majority of the paintings in Button’s exhibit showcase her love for sailing. It’s a passion that started in childhood, when she would sail out of Montreal, she said. And even though she turned away from sailing during her youth, Button got right back into it when she met her husband. They’ve spent many years cruising around Vancouver and the large waterways of Central Canada.

Now that they’re living on the West Coast, however, Button said they’ve have turned their sights from cruising to racing.

Aside from entering competitions nearly every weekend in the summer, the couple also plans to enter the Van Isle 360 for the second time this year.

It’s the action she experiences during these races — be it a full sail or the foam of a wave — that Button said she tries to capture on canvas. In order to help her do this, the painter said she bases her impressionistic paintings off of sailing photographs she gets from friends, family and other sources.

“I try to put in my perspective,” she said. “I never saw anything in the water (before) and now I do.”

Another challenge that Button faces in her work is the fact that her ocean-based scenes are, by default, very blue. So, the artist said she tries to warm up the image by using complimentary colours like yellow and orange.

“I’m pretty much seat-of-my-pants when it comes to painting,” she said.

All of this work, however, isn’t done with the dollar in mind. For Button, it’s all about the love of painting her passion — another reason why her current show at the Gallery is only her third exhibition.

“I haven’t been in the business of selling,” she said. “I enjoy it … It makes me feel creative.”

If you’d like to see Button’s work, the Gallery is open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

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