You can get a feel for the beauty surrounding Sooke by seeing how local artists felt while they were in it.
From Aug. 25 to Sept. 5, the Sooke Art Gallery will host an en plein air art show in a first-ever partnership between the Sooke Arts Council and the Sooke Fine Arts Society.
The submissions from at least 25 artists were painted en plein air (French for outside), drawing more than usual inspiration from the surroundings in which they were created, said Tanya Darling, Sooke Arts Council president.
Artists were given their choice of painting subject.
“So we have all the various areas, such as Whiffen Spit, the Marine Boardwalk, John Phillips (Memorial Park), Ed Macgregor Park, Shirley Delicious, and the Prestige Hotel, to name a few, ” Darling said.
Artist Linda Simrose found her subject in Ed Macgregor Park, which she enjoys for an after-dinner walk.
“I saw this beautiful maple tree – it must be hundreds of years old and is growing into the fence – and I decided that’s going to be my subject,” she said.
Having spent much of her time during the pandemic painting en plein air, Simrose said she was grateful for the opportunity to showcase her efforts through a donation to the Sooke gallery.
Having walked her dogs every day at Whiffin Spit, Darling chose that point as the subject of her submission. “I’m familiar with the morning, afternoon and evening sun and the fog coming in,” she said. The spit offered her a place to sit and paint while her dogs ran free.
Although en plein air exhibits are a feature of the art gallery about once a year, Darling said this is the first with the arts council to partner with Sooke Fine Arts Society.
Darling said funds raised from the artwork’s auction would be split between both organizations, meaning a wider distribution of funds across Sooke’s arts community.
“COVID pointed out the need to support fellow organizations and artists in particular,” said Terrie Moore, executive director of the Sooke Fine Arts Gallery.
(The en plein air art show) is an opportunity to showcase Sooke as an artistic destination.”
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