On now thru October 29, 2020
Chris O. Bennett
Sea to Sky Mountains & Climate for Change
“I am always trying to capture that something special when you walk outdoors and are suddenly confronted with a fleeting glimpse of a magical combination of the landscape being affected by light and clouds. I hope my work portrays this feeling. I want people to think and respect this beautiful world we live in.”
Describe this exhibit?
My exhibit celebrates mountains. We live in an area that is dominated by mountains. We are in wonder at their everchanging beauty. We are in them in all seasons. They are our relaxation, where we strive to perfect our skills, they are our joy.
We are living with the Covid19 pandemic and dramatic climate change. We are in an Era of Change, which brings with it feelings of insecurity but it is also exciting. This is the chance to grab and make enormous lifestyle changes to the way we live and work. To make a better future, not further the mistakes of the past. I am encouraged to see many businesses rising to make new ideas happen. The actions we make now will impact generations to come. I hope my paintings can inspire discussions so we move forward wisely and courageously to protect and grow our environment and how we live in it.
How have you developed your career? Are you a full-time artist?
Is Architecture Art? This is a fun never ending much-debated subject. I leave it to you to decide.
My view is it is both an art and a science. In the past, architects were always seen as ultimate artists. Renown art critic, John Ruskin once said, ’To draw a leaf is to know the forest,” for without drawing there is no understanding. Charles Mackintosh’s artistic approach had much in common with European Symbolism. The Turner Art Prize 2015 went to a bunch of radical architects at much consternation.
Buckminster Fuller, the American Architect who developed the geodesic dome, with no limiting dimensions inspired me. When as a student, I did a futuristic scheme for a new town design in Milton Keynes using air pods as the rapid transport system.
Adul Khaleq Al-Ali of Kuwait Oil Company gave me the title of Master Architect. I knew this man well, we had travelled together since he first spoke about his vision to build a museum to celebrate the history of oil in Kuwait. The design part took us 6 years. When I went to Kuwait to oversee it being built, the title put the British Company I was working in a flummox. There was no such position but the Kuwaiti insisted and the nameplate was printed. I secretly rather liked the title.
I had run my own company for 20 years and knew and could do the whole building process from design to completion. When I saw AutoCAD and computers creeping in, I taught myself to use them and never regretted it. So many Architects now specialize in one area and for good reason. Now finally it is my privilege to work at art, without the pressures of big projects and business, if not full time, it takes up most of my time.
Who are your biggest influences?
There are far too many to mention but it started with Harry Cockshott, the art teacher at my junior school in the Lake District in England, he taught me how to paint my first pet dog, GiGi. I was very proud and still have it somewhere. He later showed me how to write a short simple story, handmake it into a book, then make a film, all with me in it. That film went into the Cannes Film Festival. He also painted a huge portrait of the subject. It showed me an art process to a completed whole. I was 11 years old.
My dear Great Aunty Mary lived close to us, no-one in the family liked her but me, she taught me to paint in watercolours, she was part of the John Ruskin Art & Crafts Movement which was in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. She was a contemporary of many Victorian Lakeland Artists, Arthur Tucker, Heaton Cooper, the Naftel family for starts. I look after her sketchbooks and her friend, Maud Naftel’s book of How to Paint Flowers.
Artists such as Lawren Harris showed how clean lines and simple shapes can capture that all-important spark which makes a painting so emotive. I met the inspirational artist/sculptor Bill Reid when working with the North Vancouver Artists.
Other artists of that time, Kiff Holland, Toni Onley and Daniel Izzard demonstrated how simple spontaneous brush strokes created dynamic paintings. From then onwards the dramatic skies, ocean and mountains have captivated me.
I have been involved and inspired by art and creativity all my life. I had an Architect friend, Yung Hwa Wu and you would find us in art galleries when our contemporaries were in the pub. He introduced me to Chinese watercolourists and hiking and painting in the Chinese Huangshan Mountain, in Anhui province. It is a granite massif consisting of 36 separate peaks. It is deservedly revered and painted continually. I learnt to grind paint from rock to get the organic colour. I have done it with our rotten cedar.
What is your process?
The process of creating my art starts with me hiking in the mountains and looking and absorbing what I see. I take photographs, sit and study views that later become subjects of my paintings. Once I am in the studio, I review the many photos and pick the best angle for my composition. The oil paintings are started by drawing out the rough outlines of the landscape and working them up from there. The watercolours are a more spontaneous process, where I do not sketch out first but rather use bold brush strokes to capture the essence or atmosphere of the subject.
What is your aim?
I am always trying to capture that something special when you walk in the outdoors and are suddenly confronted with a fleeting glimpse of a magical combination of the landscape being affected by light and clouds. I hope my work portrays this feeling. I want people to think and respect this beautiful world we live in.
Carol Ann Berkley
PRETTY THINGS – Felted Scarves and Jewellery
I have always loved collecting beads, buttons, fabric and wool. The pieces you see today, are a reflection of the love that I have for using these items to make Pretty Things!
Sewing, designing, painting, felting and jewellery making, have all been of great interest to me, all of my life! I am a self-taught artist, hand sewing at an early age and collecting beads.
Years ago, I was a lead singer in a band in Calgary, and my sister and I worked to design and make pretty clothes and jewellery for me to wear on stage. As my sewing skills developed, from that early age of 18 years, I started sewing and designing for paying clients. By this time, I was married and living in Florida. My skills were called upon again, when I moved to Perth, Australia.
When I moved back to Canada, I concentrated on sewing and designing clothing and jewellery for myself. I started felting scarves about 10 years ago and discovered that I loved felting. I soon discovered that I needed the right necklace and earrings to go with my new creations! I thought I would like to share my designs with you!
“I hope to connect with anyone who loves to wear or buy something special – something unique and pretty. I personally believe that wearing ‘Pretty Things’ – should be an anyday event!”