This oil piece called Cross My Heart by Lucy Schappy makes up part of her exhibit now showing at TOSH until August 6. — Adam Kveton Photo

‘Playful optimism’ aim of exhibit in Qualicum Beach

Courtenay painter Lucy Schappy showing new abstract work

Over the last 18 years, Courtenay-based artist Lucy Schappy has been working to distill her paintings down to simpler and more expressive pieces.

Aiming to evoke a playful optimism with her work (an outlook she says she now has on life after years of work to get there), Schappy’s exhibit now hanging at TOSH (The Old School House Arts Centre, 122 Fern Rd. West, Qualicum Beach) shares a combination of fully abstract work, and more folk-inspired pieces featuring flowers and birds, some on quite large canvasses.

“I’m absolutely thrilled with way it looks,” said Schappy of the exhibit, complimenting TOSH on its space and curating. A number of Schappy’s pieces in the show were created this past winter specifically for this show, some building on a style Schappy began working on years ago.

“Those big new ones, they definitely are an evolution of work I was doing a lot of about five to eight years ago,” she said. “It’s kind of a folksy style with the birds and flowers. It really resonated with a lot of people, but I had to leave it and come back to it because it sort of felt like a dead end at the time.”

That’s changed, though, partly due to Schappy’s new use of a palette knife to apply paint. It allows for creating “broad, smooth areas of colour that I find so satisfying.”

Though Schappy’s artistic work began as representational, she said she found it unsatisfying, and continually pushed her boundaries to arrive at, broadly, two styles of work: fully abstract work, and work that contains simple representations of flowers, animals and other things.

Schappy creates her work with little to no premeditated idea of what a painting might ultimately be, but with an emphasis on warm, saturated colours, a flat appearance (perhaps inspired by her family’s quilting tradition) and simple, almost childlike images, shapes and symbols.

These are all in service of communicating a “playful optimism” she said.

“I certainly have been seeing it more that way at this stage of my life,” said Schappy. “I did go through some turbulent times earlier on in this artistic development, and so the work actually was more cathartic and therapeutic and working through some dark stuff. I definitely did a number of years of personal work to get to the place where I’m at now where I absolutely live and breath, not just the work, but my daily life is optimistic and joyful.

“It’s absolutely a reflection of what my life is.”

Her two styles not only provide an outlet for this positivity, but also help Schappy to feed her creativity, moving from one to the other as inspiration comes and goes.

Her completely abstract work is a challenge, she said — one she enjoys. “I love the possibility that abstract work provides for interpretation. Every single person that looks at it will see it differently.”

Her other work allows her to express her love for the natural world.

Overall, she said she’s constantly trying to distill her work “and make more with less. Have it be more like poetry or develop my own vocabulary that I can use with colour and shape and line and form to say something to evoke emotion.”

Schappy’s exhibit runs until August 6 at TOSH. For more info, go to www.theoldschoolhouse.org.

Just Posted

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Oceanside RCMP members take the plunge for Special Olympics

Some members of the Oceanside RCMP detachments took the plunge freezing waters… Continue reading

Jeep bursts into flames on highway near Nanoose Bay

Emergency crews responded to blaze at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Police dog tracks suspect through wintry Vancouver Island backcountry

Assault suspect arrested after two-hour track by Nanaimo RCMP police dog Jager

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Most Read