There’s a vast variety of artistic talent and styles to check out during the Central Island Studio Tour, running Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27.
Three of the local artists taking part in the tour (with studios open from Parksville to Campbell River, and even some on Cortes Island) and gathering at Sylvie Bart’s studio (1359 Pintail Dr.) are a microcosm of that diversity, and they’re excited to speak with art lovers.
The NEWS sat down with Bart, Lois Goodnough and Susan White at the studio (where they intend to set up their work in the garden, weather permitting) to get a sense of their artistic journeys, their styles, and what they hope to share with attendees.
The three ladies all got back to their interest in painting in the last few years, meeting each other at one of the local newcomers clubs. Bart eventually began a painting group called Oceanside 11 Art, and the three artists, among others, have been developing their work side-by-side, though each in their own directions.
Goodnough had been making dolls before getting back into painting, and now has developed an intuitive painting practice, focusing on figurative and floral work while using negative painting techniques and reductive methods. “You’re always surprised by what shows up on the canvas,” said Goodnough.
Bart, too, has an intuitive practice, but with an abstract expressionist, or impressionist landscape style. She also experiments with a variety of media, including acrylic, cold wax and oil, and alcohol inks. “I like to experiment a lot,” she said. “I think that leads to a lot of creativity.”
White focuses on creating realistic wildlife pieces with pastels. She’s currently working on a Vancouver Island wildlife series.
While the three artists have done a variety of art shows together, they said this will be their first time participating in the Central Island Studio Tour.
All three said they’re quite excited to talk with art lovers and share stories behind their work, and talk about the hurdles and twists in the road they’ve encountered on their way to their current interests.
“One of the nicest things about being an artist and a painter is when people want to know how you’ve done that, how you got to that process, and it’s very interesting to tell them, because your journey is really different,” said Goodnough.
“For me, a year ago I was painting nothing but faces… and it just sort of morphed into something completely different, from just following other artists on Instagram and appreciating all the other artists that are here, you just get different influences and it moves you in a different direction.”
As they are fairly recent additions to the community and are re-exploring a lifelong interest in art as many seem to find themselves doing in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area, there are some common difficulties they’ve all had to deal with to become more creative and expressive.
“Learning to trust yourself,” said Bart. “And working with a limited palette that you like and own.”
“Taking chances,” added White.
“Silencing the inner critic,” said Goodnough to laughs. “An ongoing struggle.”
“Because we are a group, we enjoy teaching each other and sharing a lot of information, and that’s the power of our group,” said Bart.
For all of those people interested in getting back into art (or exploring another hobby), Bart suggested joining one or many of the various groups in the area, especially art groups as there are many to choose from.
Another way to meet local artists and get inspired would also be to check out the Central Island Studio tour.
Running May 26-27, studios are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are more than 100 studios open. To see a map of studios, go to www.centralislandartsguide.ca and check out interactive maps. There are also hard-copy guides available at various locations in the area, including The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach, and The McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville. For a full list, see www.centralislandartsguide.ca.