New studio for artists

The Old School House arts centre continues to evolve in Qualicum Beach

Sherry Mitchell’s realistic floral paintings adorn the walls of the gallery she shares with fellow artist Joan Larson at TOSH in Qualicum Beach.

The latest resident artists at The Old School House (TOSH) are looking forward to the public coming out to see their new studio.

Sherry Mitchell, SFCA and Joan Larson, AFCA have a collaborative working studio and gallery at TOSH and will be celebrating their opening June 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a draw for two limited edition prints.

Mitchell said they are thrilled to be in the space and be part of the great community of artists who reside at TOSH.

Mitchell has been a botanical painter and illustrator for 40 years, her chosen style and medium being photorealistic watercolor.

She has participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions, and has received awards for her work provincially, nationally and internationally.

A signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, and a member of both the Botanical Artists of Canada and American Society of Botanical Artists, Mitchell is also a published illustrator.

Several years ago Mitchell’s sister, Maia, wrote a children’s book, Mr. Squiffly’s Cow, and asked the artist to illustrate it.

Today the sisters have five self-published books under their belts.

Mitchell who was born and raised in Qualicum Beach has always painted in a photorealist style, in watercolour, and the subjects of her work are primarily native and cultivated plants and flowers, some that grown in her own garden.

Mitchell’s work extends beyond mere duplication of the subject matter; her paintings are both incredibly accurate representations of her chosen subjects and most particularly celebrations of light, shadow, shape and colour.

“I think the majority of people relate to my work because the images and subjects are immediately recognizable and need nothing further in the way of explanation. A lot of the work I’m doing now is local natural subject matter that is available for everyone to see, but in fact most people miss seeing in their walks and travels. And that’s what my painting is all about – the beauty and intricacy in nature that surrounds us, but that we often don’t take the time to appreciate,” said Mitchell.

While Mitchell creates at a table, her partner in the studio uses an easel so the partnership works well in the space.

Larson has worked as a full-time, professional artist specializing in equine art for over 20 years.

She lives on an acreage in this area with her family and two horses Sunshine and Pal.

Larson has spent most of her life in the arts industry in one way or another but it is her passion for horses that has been the primary motivating factor.

She has studied at the Banff Center for the Arts, University of Victoria and the Art Center College of Design in California.

As an equine artist she admits every horse has a story and it is her mission and challenge to find it and tell it.

She has had the pleasure of traveling internationally for shows of her work, but no trip has moved her than one to the remote and restricted Sable Island off the eastern coast of Nova Scotia.  She sat among the wild horses that roam the deserted island and her most recent series of paintings allows her to relive her time there.

Larson’s RCMP Musical Ride paintings will be on display at the Parksville Community and Conference Center June 18 to 24.

The 21 painting series documents the world famous horse show in intricate detail in celebration of Canada.


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