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More to art than painting

This May marks ten years and counting for one of the Coast's most social art groups. Thursday's Artists, who meet every week at St.

This May marks ten years and counting for one of the Coast's most social art groups. Thursday's Artists, who meet every week at St. Bart's in Gibsons for a Thursday morning of painting in good company, is one of the more unpretentious art groups who find as much fun in encouraging and critiquing one another as they do in sharing the coffee cake and the potluck parties. Many of the group's original members are still active: instigator Jim Lee, Judy Lockett and Claire Caplan are all heading for their ten year pins.

On May 26 and 27 at St. Bart's Hall they will show their collective work, a whopping 123 pieces, all for show and sale. Granted, it's not all high-end gallery quality, and many of the artists would be the first to admit it. But the sheer variety of art forms to be displayed gives the show some depth.

"One of the early members brought in needlework," said Lee. "There's more to art than painting."

Lee is new to art. He became interested when he was convinced that his daughter was going to be another Rembrandt. He bought her a starter kit and they sat down together to dab at paints. Though she lost interest, he continued, and joined a local group to discover if his interest was real. When that group moved on to another location, he founded the Thursday's Artists after approaching several friends and members of the church, one of whom, Judy Lockett, had actual painting experience.

Lockett's dad was a self-taught artist. "I got my first set of paints when I was seven," she said. She paints for her own pleasure, producing oil paintings of horses and other animals, inspired by her Gibsons' farm, under the artist's name of Vyvyan.

Claire Caplan started late in life. When an accident forced a break from acting and other jobs in the film industry, Caplan needed a new outlet for her energy. She took lessons from the late Lyall Nanson, who commented on her early paintings: "You break all the rules, but it works." Heartened by the encouragement, she joined Lee in the group and was instrumental in organizing shows over the last five years.

Both Caplan and the titular Thursday's Artists president, Janice Edmonds, are very involved in other arts activities, particularly the organization of the Gibsons School of the Arts and, more recently, as volunteers for the local art gallery. Edmonds is now a busy retiree and regards her painting time on a Thursday morning as an important tool to keep her on her artistic track.

Other group members include Maynard Halsey, also known as Tex. His professionally rendered scenes capture his boyhood in the prairies or depict evocative B.C. landscapes such as Barkerville or Chatterbox Falls. Halsey's art cards will be on sale at the show.

May Sanchez paints on rocks with acrylic, her colours and textures following a natural shape in the material. Louise Harwood-Lynn draws and paints watercolours. Pat Cronin produces an attractive saleable item; she paints on tile in themes: seahorses, shells, fireworks, games or herons. The tiles are fired so they can be used in interior decorating. Pat Caravan works in watercolour, oil and acrylic to produce seascapes and florals. Rosemarie Cook was once a silk painter who had her work accepted in juried shows. When she could no longer find her favoured dyes, she was forced to channel her art in a new direction that she now loves: landscapes and flowing abstracts. Two newer members, Bob Tait and Bruce Ross, round out the group.

The Thursday's Artists 10th anniversary show and sale is on Friday, May 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday, May 27, from 10 to 4 p.m. at St. Bartholomew's Church on North Road in Gibsons. All are welcome.