By AMBER-LEA NIELSEN
Impressionistic artist Susan Schaefer showcases her ‘New Beginnings, 20 Years in the Making’ art exhibit at Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre, beginning March 3.
Schaefer’s artistic background first took off in Toronto, where she owned a graphic arts business in the eighties, later relocating to her roots.
“It was the new millennium and I had moved back to Saskatchewan,” said Schaefer. “I got a little house on the prairie, I got a truck, I got a dog, and I got a computer. And I thought, ‘what am I going to do?’”
It was in Saskatchewan when Schaefer began her first publication, Prairie Guide.
“It wasn’t just arts related, it was everything related,” said Schaefer.
In the midst of prairie life and beginning to host workshops for the first time with various artists, Schaefer turned 40.
“I had always wanted to paint,” said Schaefer. “I thought, if not now, then when?”
Fast forward to present day – Schaefer has honed her craft, having painted in Mexico and throughout Canada, eventually finding her way to Parksville during the summer of 2007.
Upon settling in the area, Schaefer found that there was a lot of tourism magazines and brochures, however, there was nothing specific to the arts.
“The West Coast has the highest concentration of artists within Canada, so I thought to myself, I can do this,” Schaefer said of her local arts publication, published quarterly. Successfully into it’s 13th year, Island Arts Magazine has caught wind along the coast, now shipping internationally; it’s main focus on supporting and showcasing artists within British Columbia.
“The magazine catapulted me into the arts. It opened up doors,” said Schaefer.
“With the magazine, I started to host workshops with different artists. It became a way for me to start learning and to bring in artists whom I admired and wanted to learn from.”
On topic of workshops, Schaefer notes that she hosts three to four per year, the next beginning in March.
“Now that I’m in Parksville, I rent the room at the McMillan Arts Centre.”
Drawing inspiration from local landscape scenery, Schaefer embraces the beauty within simplicity, her art reflecting just that.
“Every day I wake up and I think to myself, ‘god I love it here.’”
As photographs of surrounding landscapes and nature are references for each painting, Schaefer explains that her art isn’t necessarily realistic.
“I would describe my art as being impressionistic.”
A centerpiece for many local artists, the MAC is where Schaefer will be showcasing her latest exhibit, titled, ‘New Beginnings, 20 Years in the Making’, from March 3 to March 28.
“I usually spend one year creating each collection,” said Schaefer, sharing that the inspiration behind ‘New Beginnings’ was inspired purely by the beautiful West Coast.
“Every spring I do a series of four Friday morning classes,” Schaefer said.
Beginning on March 6, she will be teaching art classes at the MAC followed by a donation-driven Artist Talk on Friday, March 13 at 1p.m.
Visit susan-schaefer-fine-art.ca to sign up for art classes while positions last.