Betsy Symons’ work just has to move

Gallery display of local artists on now at Qualicum Art Supply

A new art exhibition is on display at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach featuring local artists — including one who’s abstract naturalism speaks for itself.

Local Qualicum Beach studio artist Betsy Symons has been working with watercolors and oils for many years as well as inks.

Her graphic images depict nature at its wildest and she said she is inspired by nature and how it moves and lives.

“The pulse and flow … I love that kind of stuff.  My work has to move.”

Symons fills her days with teaching, writing and painting and her portfolio includes a background of teaching and exhibiting on the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

She has taught creative writing, painting and drawing at the Shadbolt Art Centre in Burnaby, The Old School House (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach and North Island College in Comox.

She is a member of the Collective Works Artists Association, The League of Canadian Poets, The Writer’s Federation, The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, The Victoria Arts Connection, The Nanaimo Art Gallery, The Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, and The Fairfield Art Association.

Symons is passionate about colour, texture and the relationship between language and landscape: poetry and the natural world.

Her aim is to celebrate the poem of inner landscapes experienced and imagined.

By combining writing with painting she admits she can fully express her feelings.

“It is very important to me because a lot of poetry and thinking in an abstract way comes from using descriptive, metaphoric and symbolic words.”

Symons has put together courses called the Painters Poet in which she has students paint an image and then write about it.

“I give them the basic tools on how to do a watercolor or a drawing and I ask them to render a painting and then write a poem about what they just did.  It is wonderful and amazing what they will come up with.”

In her own work she paints the ambiguity of unexpected time frames and secret spaces stating it is a discovery of what was seen and not heard and what is heard and not seen.

Working in watercolour, inks and more recently oils she likes to capture the mood of the moment from a unique point of view.

“Nature is always in a state of flux and depending on where you are these natural forms repeat themselves.  Everything I paint is inspired by something that is happening in nature,” she said.

Symons didn’t start painting seriously until she was in her 30s.

Now, at age 67, she is continuously inspired by a landscape of mountains and ocean that surround her and hopes her abstract images will transcend the viewer from the ordinary and take them somewhere else.

You can view the artwork of Symons at The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply at 206 First Avenue West in Qualicum Beach.