Seven photos and seven artists

Old School House arts centre presents show in Qualicum Beach

Back row from left

Back row from left

Seven local artists have come together to reveal their interpretations of the same seven photographs at an exhibition currently running at The Old School House. The idea for the project, called Seven X Seven, came from artist Merv Brandel, who read about a similar project.

“I just thought it was an interesting experiment,” he said, having not yet seen the other artists’ work at the time of the interview. “I wanted to see the variety of styles with the same image, that’s going to be interesting, because every style is totally different.”

A few photographs were brought in from each artist and voted down to a final seven for the project. Five of these turned out to be landscapes and the other two, still life and figure. This proved challenging for artist Jody Schneider as she doesn’t usually paint landscapes but instead sticks to figurative work and abstracts. But she was excited nonetheless as she had done a similar project in the past where she and two other artists painted people.

“It was really neat; it was really intriguing because we’re so different,” she said, adding she was looking forward to seeing what the others had painted this time around.

Martin Hill had not done a project like this before and said although it was a challenge it was very uplifting. He experimented with three different styles, five in his mosaic watercolor style, one a posterized acrylic and the other acrylic with a palette knife. The latter he had only done a few times since 1958.

Leigh Buchanen found it difficult to paint from a photograph without having an experience to tie it to.

“Usually you’d use the photo as a reference for an idea you already have,” she said, “so I found it very difficult at first but basically I tried to put myself into the landscape.” 

The other artists involved in the show are Janice Bridgman, Peggy Burkosky and Ivor Cohen. All the artists had a year to complete their seven paintings. 

A reception for Seven X Seven will happen at The Old School House next Wednesday, June 22 at 7 p.m. to meet the artists and enjoy refreshments. The exhibition runs until July 17. For more information on TOSH visit or call 250-752-6133.