Power of Paint is an apt title for the powerful show forthcoming in Sechelt Aug. 17 to 19 from a group calling themselves Eleven Equal Artists. Each artist has a wealth of professional experience and has shown his or her work in galleries.
“We have respect for each other,” said Gibsons artist Nadina Tandy. “Even though we all do different types of painting and we do it in our own different ways.”
It was artist and Westwind Gallery owner Morley Baker’s idea, 15 years ago, to start the group get-togethers as a way of learning by friendly critique from peers they respected. The early members — Baker, Todd Clark and Greta Guzek — started with the late Patricia Richardson Logie, sometimes gathering at her beachside studio.
“Logie just wanted to paint with us,” Baker remembers of the nationally-recognized portrait painter. Her style changed later in life, he recalls, perhaps inspired by seeing Clark’s abstract brush strokes.
There’s no doubt group members learn and are inspired by each other. The group grew to include Roberts Creek artists Kim LaFave and Carol LaFave, then Tandy whose surreal paintings added a new dimension, followed by Josefa Fritz Barham and Ian MacLeod. More recently, Elizabeth Evans with her unique style and Cindy Riach, who paints realistic interpretations of her environment, joined the group. The newest member is Marleen Vermeulen.
Guzek describes the group as “a special blend of personalities with the right amount of give and take,” and she is eager to share her latest work with the others, even if it’s a problem piece. They meet once a month and are relentlessly enthusiastic.
“Since its informal inception some 15 years ago, the art group has remained a constant in my creative path — something I anticipate every time we meet,” Clark said.
“We all leave art night wanting to go straight home to paint,” Baker added.
Though many of the artists have participated in group shows at Westwind, they have never held a major show together.
“We’ve been thinking about venues for a long time,” Guzek said. “I wanted a show together when I saw the last show put on by the Sechelt Arts Festival that was held at the Seaside Centre. The space has exhibition quality walls and lighting.”
They booked the spot for the busiest cultural weekend of the year, Aug. 17 to 19, when the Festival of the Written Arts and the Arts Council’s Hackett Park Fair are taking place just up the street. Their opening reception is on Friday, Aug. 17, at 5 p.m. with music, dancing, beverages and appetizers. The event will become part of an art film by Tamar Kozlov. If visitors can’t make it on Friday because of the other activities, the artists hasten to say they will be around all weekend to meet the public and talk about their work.
“There’s no theme — it’s just paint.” Guzek said, adding that everything will be new work and the cream of the crop. “We’ll make sure it’s well curated.”
Preparing for such a large show required a time contribution from everyone. MacLeod designed their dynamic logo — two vertical bars representing the numeral eleven and two horizontal bars as found in an equals sign — and Clark produced a series of short videos on each artist’s work to be seen at www.elevenequal
Baker and Clark will work on putting the show together. The project was helped along by promotional whiz Rhoni Whyard, leaving the 11 free to do what they do best — paint.