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Sidney exhibit Art on the Edge explores artists’ answer to the question: what story are you telling?

Queens Medal recipient artist Carole Finn guides artists to tell their story in new ways at April Art Sea exhibit
Art on the Edge workshop artist participants worked with award-winning artist Carole Finn to tap into the power of story telling for their April exhibit. (Anna Spratt)

Award-winning artist Carole Finn would argue that art goes far beyond putting colours, shapes and patterns into a visually-pleasing way.

There is one central thing she likes to focus on: answering the question, “what is the story you are telling?”

After teaching artists and students to consider that question in her four-day vacation retreat workshop Art on the Edge, the artists created new works to be the focus of an upcoming exhibit by the same name.

Art on the Edge takes place April 14 to 20 at the ArtSea Gallery in Sidney and features seven artists – including Finn – from Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island who participated in the workshop hosted by Finn in Ucluelet in 2022.

The workshop is meant to serve as an artistic vacation, where mid-career artists can immerse themselves in creating and in nature, plus learn from one of Canada’s prolific artists.

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Finn is a Canadian artist whose body of work shows a passionate advocacy for celebrating and safeguarding the wild, natural spaces of Canada. She tends to focus on acrylic scenes of landscapes and animals – like the Great Bear Rainforest or Pacific Rim –with bold colours and textures that capture a stylistic and dramatic spirit of place.

In her lifetime as an artist and art educator, she established one of Canada’s lauded art colleges, the Haliburton School of Art and Design in Ontario. She has also founded various public art galleries and programming that engages community. Her work led her to receive the Queens Medal in 2009.

Finn points out that great art is made purposefully and tells a story through thoughtful placing of elements and form.

“When you look at the Mona Lisa, it’s so calming,” Finn said. “And that’s because every part of that piece has been thought through mathematically and uses the rule of thirds.

“I always ask artists to think about what they want to say through their art before they start. You’re putting a lot of time and resources into a painting, so you want to think about what you want to convey.”

Finn is now based in Oak Bay and spends time as an educator, mentoring artists like Thomas Kero from Bella Bella.

“Through the process of daily group critiques, a story started to build around my painting,” said Thomas Kero, one of the Art on the Edge artists in a testimonial on Finn’s website. “The story is the thing that keeps you focused, and gives clarity to the work. It’s the human perceptive element of the painting – the part that draws you in, and makes you want to stay there.”

Finn said this exhibit is a great opportunity to meet local artists, and witness what they are learning as their careers develop.

Join seven featured artists (Finn, Corinne Flaws, Kero, Dyan Myrh, Anna Spratt, Jocelyn West, Bettina Williams) for the opening reception of Art on the Edge on April 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the ArtSea Gallery in Tulista Park, 9565 Fifth St., Sidney. Learn more at

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Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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