Yesterday, I was joined by a group of painting friends as we woke at the crack of dawn to drive to Kelowna and enjoy the Oasis symposium. The morning was a series of short lectures followed by a panel Q & A., a lunch break outdoors in the sun, followed by an afternoon of demo’s with four amazing painters, Alan Wylie, Janis Roberts, Brent Lynch and Dennis Weber.
This is a second annual event and having been to the first one and racing about to all four demos I was determined to slow down, pick two and get focused. I love Dennis Weber’s work, having enjoyed his demos in the past I knew I wanted some time there. I gleaned some colour practice tips I am eager to put to use and made short notes after dinner while they were fresh in mind.
I spent most of the afternoon in the demonstration with Alan Wylie. It was lovely from a painting perspective watching a city street come to life from the beautiful grisaille with soft colour glazing. I could happily be a lump in his studio and simply watch the process of his work unfold. The very cool part of yesterdays presentation was how informal it felt. It was a small group in the theater and while I had to be vigilant to remember to not wander up closer to the work, it was this wonderful conversation reflecting an interesting life. I picked up some thoughts around a process I have been working on that I feel confident will improve my outcome or at least reduce my frustration.
In the lecture part of the morning watching the slide show regarding mural projects I made an obvious connection I had previously missed. In the 80’s I met Karl Schultz, the dreamspark behind the Chemainus painted township. I gave my copy of the book, the little town that did, to my aunt who fell in love with it but I remember it fondly. Alan Wylie was the primary painter for the project and I had forgotten that piece or failed to connect it with the paintings I associate with the name.
I remember Mr. Schultz talking about the energy of the painter and the interaction with the town, the graduated process of an idea first balked becoming one owned with pride through conversation, relationship, and connection.
On the car ride back, my big sister in the painters community said, Who can’t wait to get home and paint! We all smiled and responded with affirmation. There are sparks of inspiration that come from looking at great work. There are stirring that happen in listening to and participating in dialogue about the process and the very best kind, the ones that dance and crackle and stir a restlessness that cannot be put out without a release of energy, pen to page, brush to canvas. I predict an outbreak of creative flow in the home studio’s of the couple hundred attending artists, which I would think is a decent outcome from a one day symposium!