A new art show at The Space Above Gallery is celebrating those who choose to try something new.
The show, which is set up in The Space Above Gallery in Granville’s Lounge above Books and Company in downtown Quesnel and runs until Jan. 16, features the works of artists who participated in painting workshops through Reid Street Studios.
Most of the paintings were completed during oil painting workshops with Katja Kovanen. There is also work by an artist who participated in a resin workshop with Maureen Wheeler, and there are works by Quesnel artists who have been painting outside of the workshops.
“It’s really cool,” Kovanen said Saturday, Dec. 5 as she and a few helpers began to set up the show. “I think it will be fun for people and their friends to see their work and other people’s work who were in the same workshop.”
Kovanen has been teaching landscape and portrait oil painting workshops in the community for almost a year, with one or two workshops in the spring before COVID-19 closed things down and then a few workshops per month since July.
For many of Kovanen’s landscape workshops, artists worked off the same reference photograph, so there may be several paintings of the same scene, but they will all be different.
“They all turned out so well, but they all turned out so differently based on the same photograph,” said Kovanen.
The show includes about 40-50 works. Many of the paintings were even done right in the Granville’s Lounge before the workshops moved over to Reid Street Studios in September.
“They’re all different levels of painting experience, and most people were absolute beginners when they started or had a little bit of painting experience but with a different medium,” said Kovanen. “I think it’s encouraging to see how people have progressed from their first workshop to now their 13th or 14th or 15th painting that they’re working on. For me, it’s really exciting to see that they’re inspired and just painting.”
Kovanen says she was inspired to put on this show after seeing the finished work after each workshop and how every work looked so different.
“The people’s personalities came through in their paintings,” she said. “Everyone commented on that, about how they all looked so different but they came from the same reference photo. After a little while, we were like ‘we should show them, so everybody can see.’”
Kovanen says some people were really excited about being in the show and some were pretty shy, but almost everyone she contacted has brought in some work for the show.
Kovanen hopes the show will inspire other people who think they can’t paint.
“I think a lot of people really want to paint, but they think that they can’t, so if they know someone else who maybe has told them, ‘I didn’t think I could paint either, and I tried it, and look what I can do,’ I think that’s helpful to give someone a little push,” she said. “You may not love it on your first attempt because the first time is just getting used to the paint and how it moves, and I think the more you practise, the more success you’ll have too.”
Anyone can walk upstairs and view the paintings on display during the hours Books and Company is open (Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m).
Most of the works are for show only, but some paintings are for sale through The Space Above, and prices are listed on the artist cards.
Kovanen thanks everybody who helped put the show together — Stan, Gloria, Liz, Lawrence, Patti and Kate Tataryn, with whom she runs The Space Above — and thanks all the participants for bringing in their work.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said.
If anyone is inspired by the show to participate in an oil painting workshop or would like to give a workshop gift certificate for a Christmas gift, they can contact Kovanen at 250-255-7930.
Anyone who is interested in doing drop-in painting at Reid Street Studios can also get in touch with Kovanen. They can only have so many people at one time, so drop-in spots must be reserved in advance.
Kovanen says they will have new workshops in the new year, and they are also hoping to find a way to offer space for artists to store their supplies at Reid Street Studios.