How often do you get to visit an internationally acclaimed artist in their own studio and watch them working at their craft? Several times, if you took part in this year’s Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl when 275 talented and gracious artists from 110 studios and galleries opened their doors for this highly popular annual weekend event.
With several opening night receptions taking place up and down the Sunshine Coast Friday evening had an air of festivity . Fresh on the Coast, located in Sechelt featured live music, refreshments and a demonstration by local artist Brett Varney.
Just a few doors down the street, Artworks celebrated their recent relocation to Sechelt with more food and music and a demonstration by contemporary artist Donna Swain. It was a magical experience watching this image emerge on her canvas.
As the evening progressed, a large crowd converged at RockHouse Studio... even the Mayor showed up to help celebrate Art on the Sunshine Coast. RockHouse, as the name implies features a large granite interior wall which was an intersting counterpoint to the work of impressionist painter Dana Caple Smith.
Saturday morning broke with unexpected sunny skies and I was really looking forward to visiting a “best of the best” list of Arts Crawl participants in Roberts Creek that had been recommended to me by one of the organizers. As a long-time Coast resident, I was aware of a number of artists located in this colourful, eclectic community but I was definetly in for a few surprises.
This is it. Design, a glassworks studio is tucked away deep in the woods of Upper Roberts Creek, and this modernistic studio, filled with treats both inside and out, is now on my official visitors’ must see list.
Further up the road, as I drove deeper into the hinterlands I found yet another hidden jewel down a roadway behind this interesting street marker.
Andrew Dunkerton came to the Coast in 1975 and has lovingly crafted his beautiful post and beam studio from the trees on his small acreage. Andrew’s love of wood carries on into the studio where he has created beautiful Northwest Coast style masks and bentwood boxes.
My next stop was filled with more surprises. Goldmoss Gallery, with polished concrete floors, high ceilings and tall windows offering magestic ocean vistas beyond would not be out of place in an urbane setting were it not for the majestic tall cedars surrounding the gallery. Goldmoss, which opened in 2010 provides a mix of work by local artists Bon and Lee Roberts as well as others from afar, and their goal is “to provide original fine art to established and emerging collectors.”
Sunday brought forth another sunny morning. It was going to be a perfect day for a drive up the Coast to visit a special studio in Halfmoon Bay. But first I wanted to re-visit the studio of Laurie Rolland. Laurie’s small tidy studio in Davis Bay belies her status as an artist whose pottery has been displayed internationally and held in both corporate and public collections, as well as my own.
George Pratt’s studio was the last on my list and I was looking forward to my visit. Like many artists that I had met this weekend, George was drawn to the Coast as much by its lifestyle as its beauty. His work is widely collected in North America by private individuals and corporations and several large works have been commissioned for public display in Canada. Some also have been presentation works for foreign dignitaries including Prince Phillip and Bill Clinton. I was greeted by several of his creations as I walked up his driveway.
His home based studio, set on five acres of rock and trees offers inspiring panoramic views of Welcome Passage and Thormanby Island. More recently, this talented artist has turned to painting and coming inside his studio of vibrant colours was like a fine dessert to end this wonderful weekend.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s Art Crawl. But more importantly I’ve got a great list of galleries and studios that I can re-visit myself and recommend to my B&B guests when they’re looking for intersting places to see on the Sunshine Coast.
Follow this link to return to my website at www.coraclecove.com or to read some of my other recommendations for the Sunshine Coast.