A magic touch with the brush can readily be seen in Skye Skagfeld’s paintings (Don Bodger photo)

Island artist showcases the Essence of the Esses

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

Not even COVID-19 could mess with the Essence of the Esses.

The alliterative name of Skye Skagfeld’s art exhibition was supposed to start during the first season starting with S – that being spring – but successfully resurfaced in the second S season of summer during July.

“I had it set up before COVID and then it was shut down,” said the Cedar artist, born in Victoria, of the originally scheduled show at the St. Joseph’s Art Studios Gallery in Chemainus.

“It was here suspended in time and then reopened.”

Thus, the event became Skye Skagfeld’s Soak-Stain Summer Show. There were six dates for viewing in July of her work billed as “a dazzling display of exploration into alternative processes; her latest series of abstract paintings drenched with colour.”

COVID-19 safety procedures were in place with hand sanitizer at the entrance to the building.

Skagfeld, 34, said she had a total of 45 visitors for the exhibit.

“I think that’s pretty good. Water colour cards, sold all of those, and seven paintings sold. I’m always surprised and happy when people might buy something.”

For those who missed it, Essence of the Esses can still be viewed by appointment by contacting Skagfeld by email at skyeskagfeld@hotmail.com.

She’ll also be appearing at the Labyrinth Art Show in Cedar and people can also email for details. Skagfeld will be back at St. Joseph’s where she became one of the first few artist tenants Sept. 23-30 for the equally-alliterative event, Euclid Elemental.

Related: New gallery space opens at St. Joseph’s Art Studios in Chemainus

The Essence of the Esses not only featured Skagfeld’s work, but her dad’s wood carvings.

“It’s nice to have a bit of 3D with the 2D,” she said. “They kind of complement one another.”

Skagfeld primarily paints acrylic on canvas.

She was in San Francisco before COVID for a Helen Frankenthaler exhibit. Frankenthaler was an American abstract expressionist painter who died in 2011 but her techniques live on.

The soak and stain, “it gives an effect of water colours,” noted Skagfeld.

When she’s not painting, her profession is teaching English as a Second Language at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo the last six years.

Skagfeld spent about eight years in Singapore among her abundant travels so she’s well-versed in languages.

Travel and teaching have both been curtailed since COVID so “now I paint more than I teach,” she laughed. “It’s a good changeover.”

Skagfeld comes by her talents naturally through family members, but didn’t pursue art to any great degree until recent years.

“I think I took an art class in high school,” she recalled.

Five years after Skagfeld started painting, she also took an introductory class through the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Skagfeld’s main education is in tourism management and she has a masters from VIU in Sustainable Leisure Management.

With so much uncertainty due to COVID, for the foreseeable future “I think I’m going to keep doing some art, chill out and enjoy the Island,” she said. “I’m happy I’ve done so much travelling.”

Besides Singapore, Skagfeld has been to Paris for a water colour workshop and travelled to many countries, including: Italy, Holland, Cambodia, Australia and more.

She’s even an avid golfer, taking a few swings with a virtual club while conducting this interview.

Skagfeld went to Toronto last year as the North Island champion of an Art Battle speed competition.

“You have 20 minutes to paint anything you want,” she noted.

As the artists work, patrons move around the easels, closely watching the creative process. The medium is acrylic paint using brushes, palette knives or any non-mechanical implements as tools. At the end of the round, the audience votes for its favourite painting and bids in a silent auction to take the work home.

“It’s super stressful,” Skagfeld pointed out. “It’s equal amounts of fun and stress.”

All the elements of her life taken together are fuel for Skagfeld’s adventurous spirit.

art exhibit

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Skye Skagfeld never paints herself into a corner, but posing in one is quite different as she utilizes all the space available at the St. Joseph’s Art Studios Gallery. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Skye Skagfeld of Cedar displayed some of her dad’s wood carvings along with her art at the St. Joseph’s Art Studios Gallery. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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