Cherry Point Artists offer painting friendship, education, exhibitions

Cherry Point Artists Ross Fraser (top) with pastel Peggy
Cherry Point Artists Ross Fraser (top) with pastel Peggy's Cove, Lionel Laviolette with In The Swim, and Lighthouse On Vancouver Island, and Rosemary Danaher still-life Tao ready for Sunday's exhibit in Duncan seniors' centre, Government Street.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

Lifelong learning is the name of the game for the Cherry Point Artists.

Members salute their proactively interactive club for helping them make dreams of painting come true, no matter what age they are, during workshops, field trips and more.

Results are displayed during Sunday's 100 some-piece show and sale at Duncan's Government Street seniors' centre.

Take two-year member and CPA secretary Janet Burrow, whose landscapes are reminiscent of her native Yorkshire.

"The club helped me in lots of ways," the retired Newcastle barrister said. "I was a new immigrant at age 63; new country, new home, new husband (David), and retirement, and the group was so nice, and very calm and welcoming. They said 'Just have a go.'"

The Bradford native didn't event put brush top canvas until 2010 in Cowichan.

"Once I retired, I always wanted to paint because I wanted to go to (British) art school, but that wasn't an economic option," said Burrow, cheering a watercolor workshop with Lake Cowichan master Michaela Davidson.

"That was very encouraging. It made me feel there was something in this — it focuses your mind away form anything else; the hassles and worries of life," said Burrow, 65. "I've learned about colour, layout and composition.

"The difficult thing is just getting through the door on the first day. They helped me integrate into the community; they're not just artists but good colleagues, advisers, and listeners."

Five-year member Lionel Laviolette, 75, was all ears too.

"It's about the fellowship and the encouragement to paint. When I go to the club, I get a few ideas and there are workshops for acrylics or certain other media. I'm a neophyte; I never painted before."

Then buddy Bob Sullivan handed him an art kit for Christmas.

"Two clubs were suggested to me: Maple Bay and Cherry Point," explained former Honeywell technical-control employee Laviolette, now dialing in watercolours and acrylics.

"I went to both and saw they were very similar, so I picked Cherry Point."

His subjects are "whatever comes up. I like to do something from a book."

"My trademark is lighthouses," said the sailor, lamenting federal closure of some of Canada's beacons.

The Winnipegger also wants to try his hand at the human form.

"That's my downfall. I even had trouble drawing stick men in Grade 3. I'm working on that. I'll put figures in my paintings."

Meanwhile, he's proud of his progress.

"I don't have an original-thinking mind when it comes to art," he admitted. "The hardest part for me was doing buildings and getting the perspective for buildings, like street scenes."

Seascapes seem to grab Ross Fraser, 82.

"Whatever subject really excites me is what I do," said the retired Shell Oil lubrication engineer turned pastel painter.

"We have instructors come in all the time and you can avail yourself with them," Saskatchewan native Fraser said, hefting his Peggy's Cove piece.

He and CPA member Rosemary Danaher applauded experience and friendships offered by the CPA club.

"Our hold hands are good for picking their brains for ideas," the native Aussie said of club guests.

Chances to show work also appealed to Lake Cowichanian Danaher, 70.

The UVic fine-art and education grad started the lake high school's fine-art department in 1973.

Teaching Grade 7 to 12 students led to Danaher launching the June School District Art Show while also instructing pottery.

That also led to CPA's past-president creating jewelry and watercolours, including her show-bound still life Tao.

Meanwhile, Burrow was stoked about Sunday's event. "Every show we've had, I've sold things — it feels incredible; such a boost."

Cherry Point Artists meet Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Cowichan Exhibition grounds


Your ticket

What: Cherry Point Artists' fall show and sale

When: Nov. 4, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Valley Seniors' Activity Centre, Government Street, Duncan (beside the round building)

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