Mike Pipes took up painting at 75, 10 years into retirement. His only regret is waiting so long.
Pipes credits his wife of nine years, Bonnie Bailey, with the epiphany.
A woman with many artistic friends, she had a pal over and the three dabbled in watercolours one evening. Bailey commented on the skill Pipes showed and urged him to pursue painting as a hobby.
In early 2019, she bought him a weekend course in watercolour painting at the University of Victoria. Pipes enjoyed it so much, he enrolled in a three-day program that summer at The Society for Pure Watercolour in Cotswold, U.K.
Since then he’s painted the countryside of his youth and where his mother grew up in England as well as the snow-covered streets of Uplands where he lives now. He painted essentially everything, including a copy of one famous work he had posted on his wall during university – The Hay Wain by John Constable.
Pipes amassed nearly 80 paintings since that start in 2019, some are among the works on display in his art-filled Oak Bay home.
“I’m keen to enjoy the local beauty and paint it,” he said.
In September 2020, he was accepted into the Victoria Sketch Club where hobbyists and professionals commingle, learn, lead and inspire.
Formed in 1909 as The Island Arts Club, The Victoria Sketch Club is the oldest Canadian art group west of Ontario. Famous members include Emily Carr, Samuel McClure, Jack Shadbolt, and Max Maynard, among others. Current members include prize-winning members of the Federation of Canadian Artists, whose artwork is featured in galleries across Canada.
The club hosts an annual show and sale as a way of contributing to community, Pipes said. People enjoy art and artists enjoy showing and sharing their work.
His work will be among the roughly 150 pieces on display during the club’s 113th annual show and sale this month in Oak Bay. The art show and sale features club members’ works in oil, acrylic and watercolour, all framed and ready to be hung. There are also demonstrations by artists, personal sketchbooks to view, and door prizes.
The Victoria Sketch Club show returns to Glenlyon Norfolk School on Beach Drive for its 113th annual show March 22 to 27.
The official opening with artists in attendance is March 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. The show in the new gym at GNS continues Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Since Christmas Pipes has dabbled in acrylics, but the series of works up for sale with the club are watercolours of Willows Beach, Mount Doug Park and Cornwall.
Get a taste of Pipes’ work at cwotic.com.
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