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At the Galleries: Opus draws artists across the province

Retiring pottery artist on display in Oak Bay

Artists of all ages, skill levels and mediums are invited to participate in Opus Art Supplies’ 7th annual Outdoor Painting Challenge, taking place on Sunday, May 6, featuring thousands of dollars in art supply material draw prizes.

Last year, this province-wide event saw over 1300 people creating and exhibiting their artwork across seven Opus OPC locations throughout British Columbia (downtown Vancouver, Granville Island, North Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Langley, and Coquitlam), all at the same time on the same day.

For all people, from those just beginning to explore their creativity to seasoned plein air artists, this challenge is an exciting and enjoyable way to share enthusiasm for the arts, create in the outdoors, meet new people, and win great prizes. Participants are invited to work in any medium they wish, using acrylics or oils, watercolour, pencil, collage, or all of the above.

Registration is free and available online and in-store. Participants who display their artwork in the exhibition, and are in attendance, will have a chance to win draw prizes at each location.

Additional resources and information about the 7th annual Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge are available online at

West End Gallery shares the Happy Childhood of Mary Ann Laing April 21 to May 3.

Born in Victoria, Laing has been painting for over 30 years. She enjoys a variety of mediums to work in, but oils are her favourite. Most of her subjects are bold and colourful renditions sensitively inspired by the landscape of Vancouver Island, but she also enjoys still life work. Her paintings are among collections locally and internationally. A signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, her work has been included in many exhibitions locally over the past 25 years.

”What I am venturing to create when I paint is a source of travel for the viewer. My original ideas come from rural areas that I have visited throughout my life, somewhere my childhood was lived. By use of complimentary colour schemes and vibrant tones of the entire colour wheel, I follow my childlike imaginations of play. I hope to invite others to join me into my world of joyful ideals untarnished by the years of mature living. Someone once told me that a painting of mine brought them back to a memory of a road where they learned to ride a bicycle. In that I feel complete success was accomplished. It is always a privilege for me to be able to connect with my life experiences through making art, and an added so to be able to connect with others.”

Happy Childhood is at the West End Gallery, 1203 Broad St.

Artist Robert Bateman explores early career with 20 rare original works at the Robert Bateman Centre through June 10.

A series of over 20 never-before-seen paintings from Bateman’s impressionist past comes to Victoria, exploring his earliest works from 1942 to 1965.

Bateman’s Beginnings, shows the rich depth of Bateman’s artistic talents that have spanned his entire life. Taking a deeper look at Bateman’s impressionism, cubism and abstract landscapes, the exhibit highlights his long journey into nature realism. From early childhood doodles, to impressionist landscapes and abstract wintery scenes, he has always painted what was close to his heart: the natural world.

A public opening takes place on March 10 with a talk and tour by the artist, delving deeper into the en plein air experiences that inspired his earliest translations of nature onto canvas.

In addition to Bateman’s unseen original landscapes, visitors will see highlights from well known artists that have influenced Bateman and helped shape the artist he is today. American painter Andrew Wyeth would serve as one of the pivotal transitions along Bateman’s journey from abstract impressionism to realism. Kimon Nicolades’ book The Natural Way to Draw from 1941 was a major influence during Bateman’s university years. It pushed him to capture the essence of his subject matter with just a few bold strokes.

Bateman’s Beginnings runs now through June 10 at the Robert Bateman Centre: Steamship Terminal, 470 Belleville St.

An exhibition of new paintings by Rick Rivet opens at Alcheringa Gallery Saturday afternoon.

The series is soft and sensory and highlights Rick Rivet’s emotive exploration into Shamanistic beliefs in a contemporary Canadian context.

Set in his distinctive expressionist-primitivism style, the mix of Aboriginal imagery and abstraction creates a dreamlike canvas.

“Through the creative experience and its profound link to the unconscious, artists confront the on-going history of the human spirit. The search requires not imitation, but the revelation and expression of those intangibles which can only be conveyed through poetic meaning,” he says.

The opening reception is April 7 at 2 p.m. and the show runs to April 27 at Alcheringa Gallery, 621 Fort St.

Madrona Gallery celebrates a fifth solo exhibition with B.C. artist, Rick Bond. This exhibition features an exceptional collection of paintings based on Bond’s experiences in this region. Over the last decade, he has gone on annual sketching trips while sailing up the coast to some of B.C.s more remote inlets. Through these years of experience, Bond has been able to distill the forms of the coast into his own unique aesthetic, creating rugged west coast landscapes and vibrant urban scenes that are collected around the globe.

Artist will be in attendance for an opening reception Saturday, April 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. Learn more at

After 47 years, Bill Boyd is retiring and The Avenue Gallery is excited to have a selection of his available pieces in the gallery.

Boyd began making pottery in 1970, in Sweden, where he worked with several talented potters and taught ceramics. Over time, the Scandinavian influence melded with an Asian aesthetic, bringing Boyd to his signature work of classic simplicity. “I am interested more in creating beautiful ceramics admired by all cultures than in creating something unique.” In the past his work was associated with the more subtle glazes such as Shino, Temmoku and Celadon.

Since 2002, his traditional forms have become the playground for explorations into crystalline glazing. This challenging, relatively new glazing process that involves growing zinc-silicate crystals in the glaze at high temperatures is often avoided by other potters because of the difficulties inherent in the process. Today he creates his stunning vessels in his unassuming studio on Galiano Island. Boyd has become one of the leading names in crystalline glazing, and his work has been exhibited in Europe and North America.

Find Bill Boyd’s work in the spotlight April 13 to 20 at The Avenue Gallery, 2184 Oak Bay Ave. or visit online.

Niina Chebry is the profiled artist April 21 to 28 .