Cynthia Bonesky’s latest exhibition at Qualicum Art Supply and Gallery includes paintings of everything from flowers in her garden, to a visiting dragonfly, to a very confident-looking rooster called “The Boss.”
“There’s something about that guy I quite liked,” she said. The rooster was captured in a photo by a friend who visited Mexico.
Another painting shows the view from the dock at Bonesky’s home on Sproat Lake, framing a glass of white wine in her husband’s favourite spot to enjoy a meal. She was happy with the way the colour composition worked out, with mainly blues and yellows.
“He usually drinks red wine, but in that particular case he happened to have a glass of white wine, so it worked a lot better.”
Bonesky, who paints mainly in her lake-side studio, works mostly off her own photos, but also receives them from friends and family, including the wine glass, photographed by her husband.
The majority of the exhibition is inspired by flowers growing in Bonesky’s garden.
“I try for realism, so I’m basically painting petal by petal, flower by flower,” she said. “It’s quite a painstaking process. Whereas there’s other people that can paint flowers in an hour, it depends on your style.”
The couple have lived on the lake since 1994, which has provided a great gardening space and plenty of creative inspiration for her paintings.
Bonesky grew up in Port Alberni before she left for university on the Mainland, where she also met her husband. The two together ran gymnastic clubs on the Mainland and in Port Alberni, before retirement.
“I wasn’t particularly much of a gymnast myself. I did a little bit, sort of a junior varsity, low-level, and I went straight from there into coaching,” she said. “But my husband was a gymnast. He was a national-level gymnast.”
Bonesky said if she had to a pick a favourite, it would be a still life painting of fruit on a glass plate. It was a challenge to get the glass to look realistic and a rewarding experience to complete.
“When I finished I though, ‘oh my god!’ it felt like such an achievement to get that glass plate done,” she said.
Sometimes a painting doesn’t come together as planned, but that’s OK with Bonesky.
“It’s actually fun to take an old painting that you really feel hasn’t worked out and gesso over it, and yet you allow a little of the [old] painting to show through,” she said. “That’s always a fun thing.”
Bonesky’s exhibition will be on display at Qualicum Art Supply and Gallery (206 First Ave W) until the end of November.