Students of Qualicum Beach watercolour artist Greg Swainson start painting during class this spring. Many of the students are taking part in a one-day student show at Swainson’s Raintree Gallery (5101 Island Hwy. West) on June 10 to share and sell their work. — Greg Swainson Photo

Watercolour students to hold one-day show, sale in Qualicum Beach

Artists learn from local painter Greg Swainson

Students of local watercolour artist Greg Swainson will have their work on display and for sale at Swainson’s Raintree Gallery on June 10.

The adult students — some came to Swainson’s classes with years of experience, others never having painted before — will be showing a wide array of watercolour work in their own styles, ranging from landscapes to floral pieces, still life, West Coast work and more.

Kimberly Miller, one of Swainson’s students with pieces in the show, said it aims to keep prices accessible to allow a wider range of people to take home a piece that they like.

“I really believe that people should have art,” she said. “Art is for everybody, and that’s not just making art… it’s having it in your home and enjoying it. It’s something everyone should have access too.”

“That’s part of the beauty of the show,” said Miller. “It’s made by all kinds of people, and it’s for all kinds of people.”

Miller, whose small dog, Fico, is more or less the mascot of the class as he attends along with her, joined Swainson’s class in 2014 with a creative background but no experience in watercolour work.

And while watercolour is known for being unruly at times, Miller said the class has helped her to keep going.

“Painting can be a very solitary thing… just by the nature of the skill,” she said.

“When you come to a group that you trust and that you enjoy being around, you can take risks that you might not take otherwise because there is no fear of failure. There is no failure, there is just you might have some disappointments but you’ll sure have some constructive ideas for how to avoid it or fix it. So that’s been really great.”

Janice Victory came into the class at the insistence of a friend, and found her background in nursing was leaving a mark on her artwork.

“Everything had to be very precise. The reference was everything,” she said. But in the last little while, Victory has gotten past that requirement for precision, as well as a fear of judgment and measuring up to other artists.

“In the last year, I kind of gave up on that intimidation and thought, who cares? Just come and have fun, and I think I’m improving.”

Vera Breslin said she’s always been interested in watercolours but had never really had time while working into her 70s.

But, after joining one of Swainson’s classes, she said the new hobby and the people she met helped her through a difficult time.

Now she’s developed her own “slapdash style,” she says, usually being the first to finish painting in the class.

“Greg tells me, ‘leave that, go for a walk,’” said Breslin, to laughs from her fellow painters. “I enjoy it; the girls are great,” she said.

The student show, called Waterways 2018, takes place Sunday, June 10, from noon to 5 p.m. at Raintree Gallery (5101 West Island Hwy).

More than 100 watercolour pieces from 17 artists will be on display and for sale.

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