at the Campbell Clinic
Located on southern Vancouver Island, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt has been a site of military importance since British colonial times. CFB Esquimalt or dockyard paintings have been an ongoing series since 2017, although inspiration came from just one sunny, September day more than thirty years ago.
My husband is a retired Canadian Forces Marine Engineer. While he was still a serving member on Vancouver Island we spent an afternoon walking in the Esquimalt dockyard. For anyone who has been on southern Vancouver Island its natural beauty is mesmerizing. Historic dockyard buildings seem to have evolved from the topography of the island – some constructed in combinations of red brick and island rock. Arbutus trees majestic with colour and undulating form created a visual tapestry around many of these historic buildings. The seemingly haphazard evolution of period infrastructure to meet evolving military needs added another visual element. It was my intention then to paint from many of the photographs I took that day. Unfortunately, in the days before digital photography and during our move to southern Alberta, the prints and negatives were lost. Happily I came across them.
Interestingly and perhaps because of the distance in time, my perspective as an artist changed. Many subjects became interpreted increasingly as conceptual and abstract.
I want to thank the practice manager of Campbell Clinics in Lethbridge for allowing me to present these paintings together for public display.
Leighton Art Centre
I am pleased to say that a collection of seven of my recent expressive wildflower paintings will be on display as part of “Art on the Wall” an initiative for members at Leighton Art Centre. Work will be on exhibition beginning tomorrow and continuing through August 17, 2021. See them in person if you are in the Foothills area or online through https://shop.leightoncentre.org/collections/all
Heads up that also at the Leighton Art Centre, the G9 (Group of Nine) exhibition “What a Difference a Day Makes” continues until July 25. This exhibit was presented in the Okotoks Art Gallery earlier this year but due to Covid 19 restrictions the gallery was not open to the public. I am looking forward to my first peek tomorrow.
A note about my expressive Canadian wildflower series. . . I have been painting and drawing wildflowers most of my life–on fabric in transparent acrylic wash, on paper as pen & wash, in pencil, sometimes pastel and as simple, traditional watercolours. It is not surprising that they feature as points of departure for painterly abandon in this latest series of mixed media oil paintings. I was attending Red Deer College Summer Series last week in an Open Studies workshop lead by Jean Pederson. I had a chance to focus solely on ideas for new work in the series. It was a fun and productive time. Such a pleasure to interact again with human beings in physical space. I will upload images of that new work soon to my Expressive Wildflower gallery https://bevmazurick.com/portfolio/paintings/nggallery/landscape-portfolio/expressive-wildflowers
I have painted representational wildflowers most of my life, usually delicately rendered in transparent acrylic or watercolour—often on fabric, later sewn as fine craft. This Spring I chose wildflowers as subjects for an entirely new series of heavily textured, highly expressive, mixed media oil paintings. These explosions of colour and texture are fun to create and likely a reaction to this artist’s pandemic stress. Several of them are now for sale at the Crowsnest Pass Gallery gift shop. Crowsnest Pass Gallery, if you are not familiar with it is located on Highway 3 in Frank, Alberta, just a klik or two west of Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. It is a lovely gallery space and one of the public galleries that hosted my first solo exhibition while it was on tour. Here is a link to their website. https://www.crowsnestpasspublicartgallery.com/
A link to my new image gallery of Expressive Wildflowers on this website is also here if you would like a quick look. https://bevmazurick.com/portfolio/paintings/nggallery/landscape-portfolio/expressive-wildflowers
A report prepared for National Defence, by CRG Consulting in 2013, notes that many buildings dating from the British Imperial Era generally “feature projections such as parapets or end walls, chimneys, pilasters and brick corbelling. . . .a number of buildings still retain their original eaves troughs with decorative conductor heads and rainwater leaders.” It was undoubtedly these architectural features which captured my attention as I wandered through the dockyard’s haphazard medley of historic buildings years ago with my camera. The photos were mislaid for more than two decades. I found them again and began developing these paintings in 2018. The evolving group are an interesting mix–a juxtaposition of the visual coloratura inherent in nineteenth century architecture with reflections of the undercurrent of conflicting emotion arising in a non-serving voyeur. This duality of perspective is perhaps most evident in Stop/Arret.
Symbolic use of various design elements is evident in many of my paintings. In “Stop/Arret” I have used an overall red masking colour to instill a sense of unease. Ominous red coupled with transparent layering of architectural elements suggests the multi-faceted response dockyard scenes often evoked in me.
This is an interesting studio shot for a host of reasons. Next to the easel and re-purposed for studio use is an old hospital table. It works perfectly at either the drafting table or my easel. I even use the hospital table as a stable platform for a camera when I don’t feel like setting up a tripod for studio photography. The height is adjustable—it is on casters and has an open arm design which means I can have it close to any work area. Another interesting accoutrement is a stack of wet panel boxes my woodworker husband Don Mazurick made. Seen here in use in the upper left, the panel boxes are modular, stackable and portable. Each panel box holds four paintings nicely separated so there is adequate air circulation. I generally have as many as six oil paintings in progress so these panel boxes are awesome in my studio. In the studio when I paint with oil my approach generally involves building layers of texture and transparent colour before doing opaque, scumbled or maybe more textured layers. It is a slow process. Pictured on the easel is an as yet untitled painting in progress. In this case the painting is from my CFB Esquimalt dockyard series and has just received its second transparent layer. If you are curious about the small metal cups upturned on the palette these are simply restaurant supply cups I use to cover blobs of paint when I don’t feel like cleaning the glass palette between sessions.