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‘Sense of Place’ Parksville art show rekindles memories

Ronei’s first solo painting exhibition is at the McMillan Arts Centre until Sept. 30
’A Sense of Place’ is a painting exhibition by artist Ronei currently on display at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville. (HA Photography)

Ronei’s latest art exhibition is all about bringing forward people’s memories and feelings connected to places they’ve visited on Vancouver Island.

A Sense of Place, currently on display at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville, was inspired after hearing from people who saw her work and remembered a cherished wedding, anniversary or family vacation.

“Somebody will look at one of my paintings say of Cox Bay and say ‘oh my gosh I’m transported back to that time and that place where my family and I made those incredible memories,’” Ronei said. “That’s really what the whole show’s about is people’s attachments to place.”

This is her first solo exhibition and at 20 pieces is the largest body of work she has showcased. Ronei has also shown her art in group exhibitions and her pieces hang in galleries such as Mattick’s Gallery in Cordova Bay.

A Sense of Place is an accumulation of landscape paintings completed over the past four or five years. They capture places around the Island, which Ronei knows well.

“I feel like having grown up on Vancouver Island, the beauty of this Island is kind of in my DNA,” she said. “I grew up by a lake on a farm, really near the ocean.”

She enjoys going to places like Neck Point and Piper’s Lagoon to take reference photos.

For a unique perspective, Ronei, who has lived in the Nanaimo area all her life, will paddle out on a kayak, or hike up a mountain for an aerial view of the land.

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When she stays with friends in Ucluelet, the area provides her a great chance to take reference photos and videos as well.

Some of her paintings come from these reference photos, while others are interpretations inspired by wild places she has visited.

“There’s quite a wide variety of work that goes from realism to impressionistic and some even abstract,” Ronei said. “All the places on the Island that we all know and love have definitely inspired my work.”

She has been creative her whole life and her dream was always to pursue the arts. She started painting seriously five years ago.

“I couldn’t keep what I was painting, it just started selling so quickly,” Ronei said. “So a year and a half ago I actually transitioned into painting full time.”

She starts each painting by covering her canvas with a ground, usually this is a red or orange colour since that is the opposite of the greens and blues she paints landscapes in.

Ronei sketches out the composition with the darker colour of her ground.

“And then I start building the darker areas and create what’s called a tonal painting,” she said. “A tonal painting is where you represent the darkest values, the mid values and the lightest values of the paintings.”

Once she’s created this framework, she adds the final, lighter colours in layers, beginning with thin coats and then painting progressively thicker.

A piece can take anywhere from eight hours to 60 hours to complete, depending on the size.

Ronei sells her work on her website

A Sense of Place will be at the MAC (133 McMillan St.) until Sept. 30. Ronei will do live painting demos at the arts centre on Sept. 16, Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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