The Cariboo Artist Guild’s new Showcase Gallery Show Still Life is about challenging artists and having fun.
Still life paintings typically are detailed depictions of everyday inanimate objects from food to flowers and drinking glasses to toasters. More often than not, artists use still life to practice their skills, which is what 11 of the guild’s members did for the show this month. A half dozen artists gathered at the gallery last week to hang their artwork and see what everyone else had produced.
Penny Bailey, a member for three years now, said she had looked forward to the show as she’d been pushing for it for some time. Since coming to 100 Mile, she said she’s done quite a bit of scenery and wanted to try something more focused.
“I like to play around and not get bored with what I paint,” Bailey said.
For her piece, Bailey grabbed a peanut butter jar, some toast and her toaster and put together a little composition to paint. Bailey said she wanted to try painting chrome reflections, which she’d dabbled with in the past. As she hasn’t seen many of her fellow guild members do still life, Bailey was also excited to see what they put together for the show. It was a big challenge, but she felt everyone was up to it.
Sheryl Fremlin took a slightly different approach to still life and chose to paint an abstract still life collage entitled In the Days of COVID. Fremlin said her initial impulse when doing a still life was to include cleaning products and other items that represent how COVID has dominated everyone’s lives for the past year. Included in her collage are a mask, a wooden human figure and the COVID-19 virus itself, in addition to other smaller details.
“I love doing mixed media collages because you can do unusual things and add lots of different elements to make it more exciting,” Fremlin said.
Bobbie Crane, meanwhile, was also inspired by COVID-19 but instead chose to go for a lighthearted approach by painting Margarita Mouse. The painting depicts an empty margarita glass with a drunken mouse sleeping inside it.
“I wanted to do something that was fun that got a giggle out of people,” Crane said. “It would be a really good bar piece for someone to put in their bar. It’s a conversation piece more than anything else.”
Crane said a lot of artists, including herself, haven’t practiced still life in a while and that a lot of research was put into their pieces. She feels they all learned a lot from doing this show.
New guild member Jess Thomas agreed and said she chose to paint her dancing shoes for the show, with some improvements. The shoes, which Thomas picked up while living in Montreal, are grey in real life but she chose to paint them with a technicolour hue.
“I used to dance with them in a chorus line troop in Montreal. I guess I painted how they made me feel,” Thomas laughed.
Thomas said still life paintings really make her look at everyday items differently and she found the process of painting her shoes rewarding. She added she loves the fact that a community of artists came together to put on this show for 100 Mile House.
Still Life will be up until the first week of April.