Cowichan Valley painter Jennifer Lawson and one of her latest works, Black Magic. (Submitted)

Lexi Bainas column: Roadside Recycle Gallery opens for the summer

From tatty sofas to elegant chairs and tables: we’ve come a long way

Today, I am noting with joy that The Roadside Recycle Art Gallery is back in business for the summer.

This group of home-based artists has begun setting out their creative projects on every rural coign of vantage (always wanted to get that phrase into a newspaper) and are presenting a wide variety of works to admiring strollers and motorists.

Far, far beyond the pedestrian efforts from previous years, which featured ripped and tattered sofas in styles from colonial to modern, recliner chairs — a few thriftily and ecologically recovered at some point — the 2018 offerings have moved the Gallery well up in the world.

We’ve moved through the computer downsize stage where artists followed the fashion police in showing “distressed” partly-demolished computer desks of all sizes and colours. The computers themselves had been displayed in two previous years to unfortunately little interest from purchasers.

But, hold the phones, this year’s gallery kickoff has been really exciting.

I’ve seen a cleverly displayed metal fan (on legs, too) standing proudly beside the forest on Cowichan Lake Road, offering a pleasing contrast between it’s white metal and the deep green of the trees. And Just in Time for Summer!

But that’s nothing to the Lovely Table with Graceful Queen Anne Legs that pointed a pretty toe to the public last Sunday.

And finally, there were the opening day beauties: a whole set of Superb, Upholstered Dining Room Chairs, posing gracefully in front of a hedge like a group of super models out to add flash and dash to the event.

Keep your eyes open and report to me any particularly unique displays you’ve spotted in this multi-venue exhibition.

***

It’s a good, old-fashioned Métis Rendezvous and it’s being held at the Cowichan Exhibition on Saturday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s a kid friendly event that offers dancing, music, storytelling, food, and games for the family. Everyone is welcome so if you’ve ever been curious about Métis culture and history, this is the time.

Among the things promised as well are newly redesigned Métis women’s healing cards sets by Victoria Pruden.

Camping will be available at $20 a night per tent or trailer.

“There will be jigging,” says Patrick Harriott. “Be sure to bring those dancing shoes.”

***

Barely North Entertainment is bringing in Tennyson King for an evening of music in the Chapel at Providence Farm (1843 Tzouhalem Rd.) on Wednesday, July 11.

Tennyson King: it’s a name that evokes notions of classic literary depth and majesty.

But you’ll find it rings with the sounds of the gritty, earthy roots of rock and roll when Toronto-based musician/composer/producer Alfred Chow brings his new musical odyssey to the Valley.

Chow has been everywhere in a head-spinning array of genres and styles, from jazz to hip hop to classical, reggae and rock.

Whoa!

Doors open at 7 with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20 at Duncan Music, Providence Farm Store, and online at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/tennyson-king-live-in-the-chapel-tickets-46688185620

***

Katie Daniel of Imagine That! is waving a note at me from their location at 251 Craig St. in Duncan.

“Our feature artists in our display windows through Aug. 3 are Jennifer Lawson and M.G. Harvie.”

Lawson’s beautiful work has captured the imagination of many Valley art collectors.

See for yourself this summer at Imagine That!

“What is it that gives old homes and tangled gardens such character? Such personality? What makes us fall in love with them? It’s that indefinable essence Jennifer Lawson captures in her watercolour paintings,” says Daniel.

“[Lawson’s] 1863 log house studio is the perfect place from which to paint Mt. Tzouhalem, the Cowichan River, or an old milk jug overflowing with sweet peas. Fresh air and old linens, riotous country gardens, Victorian houses, sun-warmed peaches in china bowls: these are the things she has loved with her paintbrush for over 40 years. Her paintings, limited edition prints, and cards evoke a timeless, treasured world, from her birthplace in Yorkshire to India, from Bermuda to the Garry Oak meadows of Vancouver Island.”

M.G. (Gayle) Harvie is a self-taught artist with a love of all things art.

According to Daniel, “she has worked in a number of artistically diverse and creative jobs; as an advertising layout artist, retail store decorator/merchandise display curator. After 30 years of a busy family and work life; there came a chance to return to Grade 1, on a field trip with her oldest grandchild’s Grade 1 class to the Leighton Art Institute in Calgary’s foothills. Everyone in the little class was given a small drawing pad and pencil to go out and sketch what they saw.

“That field trip opportunity seven years ago re-inspired a long dormant love of drawing. Gayle uses a variety of papers and pencils, graphite pencils most predominantly, as well as watercolour pencils to create her original art works. Inspiration comes from life experiences, nature, animals, memories. Her philosophy, not unlike many artists, is ‘Art should speak to your soul, remind you, inspire you and make you smile.’”

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