Stone Meets Paint is the title of a professional artists' open house at Chaster House in Gibsons on Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, when sculptor Don Watson will demonstrate his work and artist Nadina Tandy will show her paintings. They're hoping for an elegant show, an active show, removed from the craft fair scene, with Watson creating on the spot and showing works in progress. Watson is new to the Coast. But many know him already as "The Fibreman" for his work on their fibreglass yachts, his livelihood. Beyond the yachts, Watson forges his own unique style in sculpture using alabaster, soapstone and teakwood. Since the age of eight, he has worked with wood in his father's workshop. He continues to produce custom-made children's furniture. Watson's influences are diverse. While living in Nashville, Tennessee, the multicultural music industry sparked the creation of musical instruments carved in rock. The brand "Rock'N Art" was born. Another influence stems from his one-year stay on the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1995-96. While watching and carving with the local natives, he developed a keen interest. Vancouver gallery owner Douglas Reynolds referred to Watson's style as "a perfect blend of abstract and contemporary art with a West Coast Native influence."
From his experience working in the construction and fibreglass industries, Watson learned how to be a mold designer. Along with the bathtubs, shower stalls and pedestal sinks, he has also built a fibreglass harbour ferry boat, one and two piece racing motorcycle bodies and even a full-size Jersey cow that sparked another artistic endeavour. From his Jersey cow mold emerged 200 similar cows, later known as the Calgary Cow Parade. The cows were used as painters' canvases and were seen all over that city in 2000 to generate funds for charities, much like the recent Orcas in the City painting project in Vancouver and Victoria. Watson is currently working on another such venture with UNICEF that will feature giant beavers, this time in fibreglass, his specialty. Tandy also knows a bit about such projects after completing her involvement in painting an eight-foot high, three-dimensional orca this past year. She will display her work with Watson on Dec. 4 at the open house. She plans to show her works on paper from her cipher series of a few years ago, plus some of her small linocuts, part of a printmaking process.
Tandy has been painting for over 16 years and has collectors in North America and Europe. She has created and taught arts programs for children and adults, designed sets for theatre, illustrated the cover of a novel and been a guest, host and producer on the Cable 11 Arts Update program. Her artwork has been seen nationally several times on ZeD, the CBC television arts show.
Tandy won't be on site for the Nov. 27 open house but will be staying home to paint.
"I'm really trying to focus on my work now," she says.
The open house is free to the public on two Saturdays, Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Chaster House on Bonniebrook Beach (opposite the Chez Philippe Restaurant.) Catering is courtesy of The Sweet Chef - that's April Quereshi, who makes marvellous pastries and custom cakes.