Local residents don’t have to head down to South America to observe bright and brilliant hues on birds, in fact Roy Hancliff captures a rainbow of colours from his back yard.
The Qualicum Beach photographer has spent years perfecting his craft to capture images of backyard birds in flight and after a lot of reading, planning and set-up, he and his wife Sharon have achieved great success.
“We’ve studied their flight patterns and habits and we watch for hours,” Roy said. “It’s a big set-up to do this, it’s not just going out with a camera, it’s an outdoor studio.”
Roy’s photographs of birds have been featured in a number of international publications and they can be purchased at Oceanside Village Artists’ Gallery located at Oceanside Village Resort in Parksville, along with the work of around 50 other local artists.
Roy and Sharon are originally from England and moved to Canada in 2003. It was at that time they decided to concentrate on Roy’s passion of photographing birds (he has also taken stunning photos of insects and wildlife). Although he wouldn’t call himself a birder, he’s now fluent in the flight pattens, tastes and habits of local birds including hummingbirds, flickers and woodpeckers. Roy said capturing the perfect picture, revealing the birds’ colourings in all their glory, depends on the right lighting. And of course he needed the right attractants which is why the Hancliffs make regular stops to local garden centres.
At the end of the day Roy hopes to show locals just what can be seen from their own backyards.
“Roy tries to show that ordinary, B.C. yard birds can be, when captured in the right environment, something truly special,” said Sharon.
Larry Aguilar’s distinctive pottery is collected around the world and the longtime resident’s work is also adorning the walls and shelves of Oceanside Village Artists’ Gallery.
Aguilar and his wife Dee make use of a number of different firing techniques to achieve eye-catching results including pit firing, wood firing and high temperature gas firing, among others. Larry has always been enthralled with oriental art, and took some art classes from the Asian Art Society in Victoria years ago. Today he continues to add brush painting to some of his pieces which are both functional, (such as mugs, bowls and lamps) and also purely artistic.
Larry has also recently returned to his passion for painting and has some prints of his Chinese dried brush painting on rice paper at the gallery.
Besides her fetching pottery, Dee is the heart and soul behind the gallery, Larry said. It was her idea to start up the cooperative business for artists in the area and although all the artists take turns manning the desk at the gallery, Dee juries the work, promotes it and spends the most time selling it.
“She’s the CEO, the COO and the CFO,” said Larry. “She’s a no-nonsense lady and everyone here loves her for that.”
Dee said she wanted to start the gallery because she knows how tough it is as an artist to try and continuously do solo shows.
“You’re not always going to get the crowds, but if you work together as a collective and have much more to show than just your own work then it becomes a hub that people would love to come and see,” she said.
Local photographer Randy Hall has a mix of canvass and metal prints at the gallery. His specialty is nature, particularly landscapes and seascapes that show contrasting colours and sharp lines.
“I like weather conditions, clear skies don’t always appeal to me, clouds add character to a photo,” he said.
The metal prints are new for Hall and he said he likes how they pop with colour and contrast. But the reflection wouldn’t work well in a room with numerous windows or harsh light, he added.
Hall also enjoys working with his photos on the computer in post-production, cleaning up the photo, he said, but he never adds anything that wasn’t already there and doesn’t subtract any elements.
Jai Kealy’s First Nations sculptures and wood turnings are a welcomed addition to the gallery. The French Creek artist creates smooth wooden pieces like a First Nations raven carved from red cedar and hand-painted. The piece has a separate wooden tongue with a pull-cord and hammered copper has been inset into the eyes, nostrils and wings.
Kealy, who has Cree and Sioux heritage, is also known for his realistic whale carvings and won an award in the 2009 Brant Festival where he came out above the world champion whale carver. Kealy said he pays a lot of attention to detail and likes to accurately depict movement in his sculptures.
His wife Val is also a talented sculptor and her cottonwood bark houses are for sale at the gallery.
The majority of art at the gallery is from artists in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area and there are also some pieces from as far south as Victoria as well as a few from Haida Gwaii. Art at the gallery ranges from $15 to $15,000. It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oceanside Village Resort is located at 1080 Resort Drive in Parksville.