Artist Rollins displays work on Saanich Peninsula Studio Tour

Go inside Saanich Peninsula artists’ studios on self-guided tours during the ArtSea Festival.

Sidney artist Elizabeth Rollins, 92, is opening up her home studio to the public during the Fall Studio Tour — part of the sixth annual ArtSea Festival put on by the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula.

On Oct. 24 and 25, the public has the opportunity to go on self-guided tours of Saanich Peninsula artists’ studios and venues for the Fall Studio Tour.

These local studios will display many things, from painting and glass, to woodwork and more.

Ninety-two-year-old Elizabeth Rollins is one of those artists that will display her work in her very own home in Sidney, giving people the opportunity to view her work. The Tour will run throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rollins has had a passion for art since she was a little girl — and that’s a long time.

“When I was a child I was always drawing. People had big knees and tiny heads because I was just a little kid,” she told the PNR in an interview at her home overlooking the sea.

She has had the opportunity to live in many places, including Malaysia, England and Virginia, just to name a few, as her husband travelled for work. She painted and took care of the family.

“Of course one is influenced by everything that one sees and experiences,” she said about her travels.

Her work includes portraitures, landscape, still life and abstract. She uses oil, charcoal and acrylics and will be doing a charcoal demonstration both days. She says she plans to create a portrait of one person each day, with the individuals getting to take the drawings home.

Rollins says she had some wonderful teachers along the way while studying Fine Arts at the University of Alberta.

Those include Norman Yates, Jack Taylor and one of her professors at the time.

Rollins has had the opportunity to paint at the Torpedo Factory — where torpedoes were made in both world wars. Once the wars were over, she says the factory was abandoned and later taken over by 150 artists — Rollins being one of them.

A big passion for Rollins besides art in general, is places and people. She says she also likes abstract work and will look to the sea and the sunrise. She says she creates a lot of seascapes, usually using acrylic paint, when she does her abstract work.

“I don’t want the idea to jump away, and with the acrylics I can go along with the idea as it develops.”

When she lived in Malaysia, Rollins did a lot of batik work, which is a fabric using wax. She had worked for a friend that had a batik factory in the jungle, doing fabrics for her which she said was a wonderful experience.

When her husband died shortly after their return to Canada, she tended to an elderly aunt and was able to move into her current Sidney home to begin painting. She redesigned the house to the way she liked it and has now lived in her house for many years.

At 92, Rollins still works in her studio at home, drawing and painting away.

“Art to me is my whole life,” she says.

Being part of the ArtSea Festival is something she has enjoyed doing over the past few years and believes art to be of great importance to the community.

“Well, art enriches one’s life and it enriches the lives of people who look at it and try to understand it. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. A lot of people like artwork in their homes because it makes them feel good.”

Doing a wide range of work, Rollins says delivering a musical quality is important to her in a painting.

“I’ve always been fascinated with shapes and rhythms and movements, and a painting has to have a musical quality otherwise I’m not interested.

“I’m not musical at all but there’s a bit of me that wants the painting to be musical.”

Having been a part of the Studio Tour many times, Rollins will also be holding the final party on the last day of the tour (Oct. 25) for all of the artists who were a part of the event.

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