At one with the sea

Landing Gallery

Jan DeGrass / Arts & Entertainment Writer
May 29, 2014 09:33 AM

Artist Shannon Woode, left, and sailor Gillie Hutchinson with one of Woode’s new works, At One With the Pull of the Moon, a dreamscape inspired by a voyage along Croatia’s coast. Their collaborative show, At One: A Journey of Art and Sail, opens at The Landing Gallery in Gibsons this Saturday, May 31.

The power and joy of sailing is the inspiration behind new works from artist Shannon Woode, whose show, At One: A Journey of Art and Sail, opens at The Landing Gallery in Gibsons this Saturday, May 31.

She shares this inspiration with Gillie Hutchinson of LadySail, a Gibsons sailing instructor who has organized voyages to Desolation Sound and far away Croatia.

To the collaborators, Woode and Hutchinson, this artwork is far from simply representing pretty pictures of boats.

Hutchinson describes how it feels for her when she’s out on her boat.

“You connect with your spirit,” she said. “It’s powerful out on the water — you have complete faith and freedom.”

Woode agrees. Sailing is stepping outside your safety zone, she said. Her art, like her sailing, is an exploration of intimacy, vulnerability and courage.

When her husband Lowry Olafson began sailing, she did too, and she experienced some of the same appreciation of nature that she brings to her work painting forest scenes. Later, Woode’s daughter Jillian took a sailing course from Hutchinson, and the collaborators met.

Hutchinson understands how many of the women she takes out sailing may be nervous at first and may have lost confidence in themselves, particularly if they have had a negative experience sailing with their spouses.

“I wanted to empower women,” she said, “the empty nesters and those who lack adventure in their lives.”

The sailing experience boosts their confidence and their joy.

Woode first began painting after taking a class from Greta Guzek.

“I caught fire,” she recalls.

She often sketches while on the boat or at her living room window that looks out over Gibsons Harbour and Keats Island. They are simple sketches that she will later draw on canvas using a wet medium to capture the feeling, the movement and the environment.

At The Landing show she will also post her poetry.

“I always write with each painting — the piece pushes the writing or the writing pushes the piece,” she noted.

Hutchinson has also written poetry inspired by Woode’s paintings.

In addition to the 11 new works on show from Woode, some colour reproductions of Freedom to Break, one of the paintings, will be available for $20 each.

The show opens this Saturday, May 31, from 1 to 5 p.m. with performances from musician Lowry Olafson at 2 and 4 p.m. The Landing Gallery, an artists’ co-operative, is at 436 Marine Drive in Gibsons.

Woode presents a kids’ creative writing workshop on June 2 and 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — something she has recently been cultivating by working with home-schooled children.

On June 13, Hutchinson presents a LadySail slideshow, and on June 14, just prior to Father’s Day, a special event in gel paint printing takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. so that each participant can make a matted art print as a gift for Dad.

More about Woode’s work can be found at and information about LadySail is at

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