Sociable Crawl and visionary songs

Art Crawl

Those who had not previously experienced the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl could be forgiven for thinking they were joining one huge travelling house party. The Crawl has become a social networking opportunity that needs no phones or other devices – it takes place face to face. At many venues – there were 144 of them over the weekend – groups of visitors milled about at studios and galleries to chat, exclaim and discuss many subjects with resident artists. 

Friday’s power outage in Lower Gibsons kept some people away from participating, but Marleen Vermeulen, whose studio in Grantham’s Landing went dark on Friday, hosted visitors by the hundreds on Saturday. She showed her realistic textured land and seascapes along with Dolf Vermeulen’s photographs. 

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In Sechelt three artists combined at the studio of Heather Waddell, who showed her latest creations – the expressive and unique faces of women with head coverings sculpted in clay, along with her vibrant paintings. 

“The Art Crawl has become a social event,” said writer, editor and potter Betty Keller. “It was good to see so many children coming with their parents to see the art.” 

Keller showed her ceramic chickens and practical pots, while the third member of the group, Joanne Scanlan, displayed her grinning creatures and forest forms in clay. 

At another group show called Lienzo Loco, Teryl Mullock displayed his large abstracts, and Jeanne Robinson showed her oils. Bronwen Boddington’s affordable housing display was a chuckle – colourful painted blocks of wood in the shapes of tiny houses. Deborah Allain, Debra Nelson and Heather Hargreaves also showed in this fun gathering. 

It was good to see the owners of Goldmoss Gallery, Bon and Lee Roberts, back in Roberts Creek with their latest work. You have to look closely at Bon’s colourful paintings for the textures – waves, crushed velvet, contour lines – and always her ovoid shapes, the imagery of eggs and their source, hens. Lee has made art out of discarded surgical knives, arranged in shapes, photographed then disassembled as works of a transitory nature. 

The Halfmoon Bay Apple Festival joined the Art Crawl for the first time this year. It drew crowds to Coopers Green to enjoy the apple harvest and listen to music. Unfortunately the dim light in the hall made it difficult to see the art on the walls, but outside in the spritzing rain there was a certain artistic quality to the warm, golden bannock smothered in freshly-made apple butter. 

The Origins art exhibit for the Sechelt Arts Festival remained open for the Crawl weekend and is now closed. The last concert in the 17-day Festival presentation, titled Visionnaires, was a hit with the audience on Saturday evening. The five-member group, Mimosa, extended their repertoire to include songs by Canadian women, many of whom are visionary activists. Anglo-Canadians learned a little about Quebecois singers/songwriters such as Pauline Julien, while lead vocalist Rebecca Shoichet showed her range on such songs as k.d. lang’s Constant Craving and Joni Mitchell’s The Magdalene Laundries. 

Two promising younger artists performed: Eryn Robertson, who has recorded her debut EP, and Willow Carriere who sang Invincible. A video backdrop by Harmony Thompson complemented the music. Anna Lumiere made the biggest creative leap with the last number of the show – a new version of the lyrics to O Canada. “Our home and sacred land. True healing love, all people hand in hand.” Much improved, in my opinion.

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