Six members of the Landing Artists collective (landingartists.com) are currently showing works at the Gibsons Public Market, both upstairs in the Coastal Room and in the main floor space. The artists featured are Coralie Swaney, Ruth Rodgers, Charmaine Bayntun, Trisha Joel, Ed Hill, and new member Elaine Seepish.
Retired police officer Ed Hill is perhaps best known on the Coast for his superlative auctioneering skills, but his serene acrylic coastal landscapes are also unforgettable. There’s a reason for this focus on serenity: “Ever since I started painting seriously and professionally in about 1985, I have found the entire process soothing, and ‘medicinal.’ When I was an active police officer, it took my brain from my duties. In retirement, and living with PTSD, it does the same. I always hope my images take the viewer to calm, soothing places, too. Sharing the ‘medicine’ if you will.”
Hill’s meticulous process was learned from famous Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers, but he has since adapted it to make it his own. The many-layered painting process is slow and painstaking, but there’s more to it than technique. “From Roy I learned to search out an image in a ‘spiritual’ way, and I adopted the Indigenous way of telling a story with each image. I often say to people purchasing my work that they only own half of my artistic creation if they only have the image. The story is the other half.”
In the current show, you’ll see a number of Hill’s high-quality giclee (fine art) prints; his originals are rarely available because of the length of time they take to produce. Nevertheless, each image comes with its own unique story. The stories are detailed and lengthy, so each can be found accompanying the painting’s image on Hill’s website at www.edhillart.com.
Trisha Joel is currently the collective’s only fibre artist. Trisha was drawn to textiles because of their long association with touch and comfort. She also enjoys their connection to the natural world, as most of her work uses leaves and natural dyes.
Joel has learned fibre art processes from many teachers over the last 20 years, and from the privilege of being in a small group mentored by a great teacher: Pat Crucil. The two large quilted pieces at the market – one in cool and one in warm colours – showcase the many surface design techniques that fibre artists have used over the last decade, from deconstructed screen printing to mono printing and stencilling.
“I hope viewers take away the joy of colour and the variety of ways to make marks on cloth, and see that my motivation to make art comes from my love of learning, exploring new ideas, and developing skills as I go, plus a huge enjoyment in being able to play, every day.”
Elaine Seepish is the collective’s newest member, and her colourful abstract pieces provide a complement to the other painters’ more naturalistic works.
Seepish has developed her skills with many of the Coast’s best artists. “Many brilliant artists here on the Coast influenced and encouraged me to keep learning and growing, so I don’t consider myself to be ‘self-taught.’ I learned watercolour, acrylic and drawing techniques from Jan Poynter; freedom of expression from Todd Clark; mixed media from Vancouver’s Jeanne Krabbendam; and watercolour and drawing from Hiroshi Shimizaki and Vancouver’s Mohammad Atashzay. I intend to never stop learning.”
Seepish enjoys acrylic for its brilliant colours, endless mixing potential, and ease of cleanup, but she still occasionally turns to watercolours for a change of pace. Among her works at the Market show is a large abstracted piece called Lake of the Woods, painted from the artist’s memories. “It calls to mind the rugged western Ontario lakes I remember from my travels. I hope it evokes calm, warm summer days and a cool respite on the water.”
The exhibition can be viewed during Market hours through Aug. 15.