Spring 2012

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pastels in his paintings of trees, landscapes and local island characters – as well as for his 3-D wooden fish. But his most recent explorations take a cue from British artist David Hockney: "paintings" and sketches done on an iPad. Pender's annual art shows are the pillars of its idiosyncratic art scene, which in spring includes Art Off the Fence and an Easter Art Walk. Now in its 13th season, the latter's open-house format shows off a dozen galleries on South Pender and offers buyers the chance to jump on fresh works. "Easter is fitting for the art walk, as here it's certainly a time of rebirth," says Ducote. "Spring is when people start coming back to the island, and the walk showcases what all these artists have been doing while hunkered down in their studios all winter." S tanding behind the planks of the Morning Bay Vineyard & Estate Winery tasting table, owner Keith Watt pours samples of his Estate Chiaretto rosé. As visitors sip, he regales them with one of his favourite art history stories: the mystery of Canadian painter John Wentworth Russell's controversial 1927 nudes, and how they ended up on Pender Island. (It's a long story; to learn the answer, a visit to the winery – or the island's Renaissance Gallery, where the paintings reside – is required.) The winery is an excellent place to wrap up a daylong DIY gallery tour. Watt and his partner Barb Reid have been boosters of Pender artists since 2003, two years before the winery opened. "We invited Susan Taylor to do a showing in our terraced vineyards, and it was great," recalls Watt. "But it emerging wines, such as the aforementioned Chiaretto (which Sooke Harbour House owner Sinclair Philip has declared the best B.C. rosé he's ever tasted). This summer, Watt is also helping organize Pender's first annual Island of Art Festival, a 10-day series of art shows – at the winery, the community hall, even the island's Anglican church. Cultivating relationships with artists is good business, Watt admits, but it's more than a marketing ploy. "Being on this island you get an appreciation for art, and we love the connections we've been able to make with the art scene here." Watt's fondness for music is equally good news for visitors; in 2006, he founded the island's Labour Day backyard music and wine festival, Winestock. "We're all in the same business," says Watt. "Wine is slightly different as a conALTOGETHER, NOW "It has been hugely helpful," says Diane Kremmer of Pender's "very supportive artist community. I was always into drawing, but here, I was inspired to get into colour, into paint." (centre) the Blood Star Gallery; Kremmer in-studio. (left) Kremmer's The One That Got Away and (right) Morning Bay Winery art (label designed by Thinkwell). This year, artist Diane Kremmer is helping Ducote, Taylor and several others organize Art Off the Fence (July 14, 15). Kremmer, whose studio is called Benevolent Beast, specializes in finely detailed fantasy illustrations: a mystical menagerie of ram-headed druids, sleeping peacocks and fairy-like "impsects." Fittingly, Art Off the Fence also has a magical quality. "In past years, you literally started off the show going down a little path through the bushes, with artwork on easels flanking each side," she says. The name of the event derived from the spot where, for the past 16 years, local artists and a few off-island guests have displayed their works: on a weathered cedar fence across a sprawling South Pender property. And though a new location is in the offing this year, Art Off the Fence will continue to be set apart from the usual commercial gallery opening by being staged with live music and a barbecue by local chef Pierre Delacote. "It will be a rustic, totally relaxing event," says Kremmer – not what most people think of when they hear the words 'art show.' " was Thanksgiving and blustery. The winds were so high she had to run around catching her own paintings." Weather notwithstanding, the relationship between Morning Bay's vines and Pender's artists has remained fruitful. Eha Onno, Susan Taylor and Diane Kremmer have all hung canvases on the winery's walls and barrels, and both Taylor and Kremmer's paintings have graced its labels. Currently hanging on the high, concrete walls behind Watt, and on the barrels opposite, are the works of local artist Amy Heggie: small, painstakingly rendered charcoals of wildlife – an owl swooping into a birch forest at night, a dragonfly – as well as spectacular, colour-filled abstracts. Local artists covet access to the winery: its high ceilings and light-filled, modernist architecture make it irresistible gallery space. The result is a fine pairing. Visitors who come for tastings are introduced to emerging artists, while art lovers seeking their paintings are introduced to Morning Bay's (painting, Morning Bay wine label) by Diane Kremmer, (Blood Star Gallery, Kremmer in-studio) Tyee Bridge p24-27_Daytripper.indd 27 sumer product, but it's still an artistic pursuit, an act of creation. And there's an upwelling of creative energy here that I think is unique, even in the Gulf Islands." GET MOBILIZED • The Red Tree Gallery is an artists' cooperative on North Pender's Hope Bay quay that features the work of 18 local artists — notably Beverley Peden's abstracts (influenced by 20 years spent in Ethiopia and East Africa) and Mae Moore's impressionist landscapes. (The gallery is artist-staffed, so visitors are guaranteed to meet at least one face behind the works.) • Also, don't miss: Winestock and August's PIAS Art Show & Sale, featuring new works by members in a wide range of mediums and styles (morningbay.ca). • The Pender Island Artist Guide is found on BC Ferries and through penderislandchamber.com i Morning Bay's Winestock: morningbay.ca/ winestock-music-festival.php Mae Moore on acoustic guitar: bcaa.com/guitar Y Member coastal travel, including maps, TripTiks and savings: bcaa.com/thewestcoast WESTWORLD >> S P R I N G 2 0 1 2 27 2/6/12 2:42:54 PM

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