Two well-established Parksville artists are currently displaying their work at the Qualicum Art Supply and Gallery, through the end of March.
Lloyd Major and Judy Maxwell have had their work shown across Vancouver Island, including the McMillan Arts Centre, the Cafe Adagio in Parksville, the Village Gallery in Sidney and the Sooke Harbour House to name a few.
The majority of their work resides at their home gallery where, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they welcomed people to view their work and take oil painting classes.
Though both are semi-retired, Major and Maxwell still aim to pass their guidance on to budding artists in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
Major has also owned and operated art galleries in Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw and Parksville.
Born in Rocky Mountain House, Alta., he first displayed his passion for the arts at an early age with drawings and sketches.
“When I was in grade school I was always drawing. Then I got into oil. I tried watercolour but that didn’t work for me,” he said.
For many years Major worked as a sign painter, a skill he attributes to developing his detailed and realistic style.
He spoke of how his boss at the time allowed him a studio, which is where he first fell in love with oil paints. While first dipping his toes in the art world, he would bring a piece to an art teacher who would counsel him on how he could improve his work, on how to better his technique.
In the same manner, Major now offers guidance to his students.
Maxwell, on the other hand, born in Ottawa, did not start painting until she moved to Parksville in 1999. She first delved into oil painting after taking a class from Major at one of his galleries in Parksville. What first started as a hobby for Maxwell soon turned into a daily practice with Major’s encouragement.
The couple now paint together every day.
At the start of the pandemic, Maxwell said they would often facilitate their art classes outside when it was warm enough and have only a few students working in their backyard.
When the weather cooled as the seasons shifted from summer to fall, they welcomed students inside their home gallery, spacing them approximately 10 to 12 feet apart.
“They were our bubble,” she said.
According to Maxwell, the students all agreed to self-isolate for a couple of weeks if they went off-Island or had out-of-town visitors before returning to the gallery for lessons.
Their art classes were taught more as a workshop, Major said, where students would bring in different subjects and they would simply offer guidance on how to better their techniques.
“We saw a lot of Rathtrevor and Parksville Beach,” said Maxwell with a chuckle.
“We would tell students, especially kids, that if they don’t like something, just to get another piece of paper and just keep doing it… The more you do it, the better you get,” she said. “And a certain amount of instruction does help. You can be taught the mechanics, but the end picture, it’s showing you and not the techniques so much.”
Major said he noticed that many people seemed afraid to paint.
“A lot of students don’t realize you can wipe it off – oil especially. And we do that ourselves. If we don’t like something, we just take it off and redo it. And painting together, we sort of feed off of one another.”
Major and Maxwell’s specialize in West Coast landscapes and seascapes. Their current display at the Qualicum Art Supply and Gallery shows just this, with a little bit of wildlife sprinkled in.