Ocean still life to walls of woodwork

The Gallery in Qualicum Beach welcomes a showing of two prominent local artists

Jean Grant Horner’s latest series of work is reminiscent of tidal pools.

Jean Grant Horner’s latest series of work is reminiscent of tidal pools.

The Gallery at Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach is bursting with eye candy as eight artists have their work on display.

Bonnie Luchtmeijer, operator of the gallery and art supply shop at 206 First Avenue West said the public can check out the unique work for the next three months.

Included in the exhibit is the Waterworks series by Qualicum Beach artist Jean Grant Horner.

The award winning artist has had her paintings exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in galleries and her latest series of paintings are reminiscent of the life found in some of our coastal tidal pools.

Horner, who has been artistic all her life, has painted in all media and she is continually trying new things to see what effects she can get and how she can interpret something. Her latest interpretations were inspired by the Planet Earth series by natural history film maker David Attenborough. She said the living reefs explored in the undersea shots just blew her away and she created 10 pieces that depict the moving ocean life. Her technique is unique and one she said she developed over the last year.

Horner uses ink on Yupo translucent paper to create layers and an orchestration of colour, texture and patterns. Yupo paper is an acid free sheet of plastic that has a very smooth non absorbent surface which allows for floating of paint of all kinds.

Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers and Horner admitted she is continually trying new materials and techniques.

She said the process she used while creating the Waterworks series took some time to master.

“I started playing around with painting in mylar. I kind of thought it was a bit sticky and that led me to think about something more fluid. I tried some fluid acrylics and they were still a bit thickish so then I thought, I know … I am going to try the inks and that just took off,” she declared.

As Horner works on her images she keeps them wet as she moves colours around.

“Sometimes I will drop one colour onto another. If I want to highlight I use a bit of alcohol.

“When I am satisfied, I leave them to dry and then spray them with a matte spray just to unify the surface.”

She said before they are framed a bright white backing is added to give it a nice depth of colour.


Horner said some people have told her they see flowers in her current work. That observation is OK with Horner because she agrees that sea anemones look a lot like flowers. She said the work depicts moving, wiggly things and she is pleased to have them on display for the next few months.

Also adorning the walls at the gallery are some unique sculptures by Qualicum Beach artist Richard Sandstrom.  His pieces include clocks and other creations sculpted out of wood with encaustic painting finishes.

Sandstrom explores many media in his artwork and he incorporates metalwork into his wall art, creating strong, interesting and quite beautiful pieces.

The artist, who spent his early years in Spokane, Washington teaching artwork in high school for 32 years, now calls Qualicum Beach home. While he works in all media, he said wood, metal and bronze are his favorites.

“I like to make things. I incorporate medal into the wood and when you get into the wood it tells you what to do.  The wood is alive and it talks to you.”

Sandstrom uses all kinds of wood and said he likes exotic hardwoods as well as natural cedar, arbutus and yew that he finds in the forests surrounding him.

Encaustic painting on wood can also be found in his bodies of work. The term encaustic is derived from the Greek word enkaien and means, to burn into. The procedure of applying molten, coloured wax to various surfaces was already used by the old Egyptians more than 3,000 years ago and Sandstorm said there are a lot of great painters in town using the ancient technique. He admitted one of the reasons he fell in love with beeswax painting is because there are no rules and he likes the smell of beeswax.

“You can do anything you want with it.  It is so spontaneous and it creates a transparent quality,” he said.

Sandstrom is up to the challenge of working with a multitude of materials. He said his work is influenced by Japanese and Chinese culture and although he has never travelled to that part of the world, he has seen a lot of pictures and is fascinated by Eastern art.

His wearable sculptures include jewelry that combines exotic woods, silver, gold and ivory. He admitted he is enjoying retirement in Qualicum Beach and appreciates how rich the community is when it comes to the arts and music.