ART AND THE CITY – Kelowna Offers Art Lovers An Eclectic Mix of Styles

With Sopa Fine Arts dealer, Deborah Boileau (Brandy Saturley)

Family Day weekend found me in the beautiful Okanagan Valley and specifically the city of Kelowna. Known for it’s orchards, wine, ski hills and tremendous Okanagan Lake; there is a great variety of Canadian Art to see around town.

My visit began in the South Pandosy neighborhood, a funky and fashionable neighborhood hosting unique and eclectic art galleries, vintage, interior design and décor, and high-end fashion.

My first Art Gallery stop at Sopa Fine Arts. A gallery I have exhibited with, this is a gem in the Kelowna art scene. Located in the South Pandosy (or SoPa) neighborhood of Kelowna, BC, Sopa Fine Arts is a contemporary fine art gallery specializing in original art work by leading international and mid career artists, and a selection of talented emerging Canadian artists. The gallery with it’s New York edge, rustic wood and long white walls; presents large format paintings, sculpture and a variety of abstract contemporary art. The gallery is a refuge and place of solitude to enjoy the art in a welcoming environment, that appeals to new collectors as much as it does to the seasoned collector.

My next Art stop was at the Kelowna Art Gallery in downtown Kelowna near the Kelowna Yacht Club and lakeside skating rink this time of year. Another haven of art; the Kelowna Art Gallery is one of my favourite smaller public art galleries in Canada. I have visited public galleries across Canada over the past decade and the KAG is one of the best for it’s size, always presenting a mix of student to established Canadian artists in their four gallery spaces, including a courtyard space for installation art.

Currently at the KAG:

Joice M. Hall: Sacred Sights Gwaii Haanas at Kelowna Art Gallery

Joice M. Hall GWAII HAANAS – Islands and Sacred Sites

A painting installation inspired by 1600 digital photographs taken during a two-week artist residency in Haida Gwaii in 2016. The 18-foot installation is a panoramic landscape celebrating ocean, forest, and marine life inspired by her residency in Gwaii Haanas, guided by Parks Canada resource officers.

Gary Pearson: Short Fictions

Short Fictions presents the fascinating evolution of Kelowna painter Gary Pearson’s career over the decades that he has worked as a professional artist. The Kelowna-based artist works largely in painting and drawing, with a strong graphic sensibility and a stark, spare, linear style. The exhibition encompasses large format paintings, watercolour studies, drawings and video.

Gary Pearson: Short Fictions at Kelowna Art Gallery

I always enjoy exploring cities and taking in the art offerings from both public and private galleries. My Art and The City diaries began about 5 years ago after I decided that I should do more than take photos and paint on these trips. I began writing down my thoughts about these galleries and places across North America. I have visited public galleries across Canada from the smallest northern towns such as Yellowknife, to the metropolis of Toronto. I realize now that these trips have created a visual database of the Arts across North America and specifically Canada. With this vast perspective on what Canadian Art is, from community Arts to auction houses, public art galleries to the commercial big business of contemporary art in Canada; I feel very fortunate as a Canadian Visual Artist to have gained such a broad perspective and understanding of Art in Canada.  There is much great art in Canada, and much more than just landscape painting for those who venture beyond their local commercial gallery. Collecting great art begins with building your taste profile, what better way to do this than to get out and enjoy art of all kinds. Happy Art hunting! ~ Brandy Saturley

The Work Behind A Work of Art – Making A Painting

There is a famous quote that speaks to the work that goes into a work of art, it references the artist process, and vaguely refers to the creative process. The quote made famous by James Whistler is; “An artist is not paid for his labor, but for his vision.”

What did Whistler mean by, “paid for his, or her, vision”, was he speaking of paying an artist for their ability to see things others cannot? Perhaps, it is definitely about perspective and how artists make us see things in a different light, but I believe Whistler was also speaking of the time it takes to develop the vision for a new creation, the plan or blueprint to future work. As a painter, the painting is the result of the vision, developed through days, weeks, months and even years. An idea I have for an artwork today, may wait for a year before I have enough knowledge to understand how I will execute the painting. Artists are gatherers of visual, aural and emotional stimuli. We collect experiences, from a hiking trip in the Rocky Mountains, to a symphony. From the way a coffee spills on the ground, to the colours of a sunset. From the words of a writer to the moving pictures and soundtrack of a film. All this stimuli being collected literally and figuratively. A photo I take today may end up providing information for a painting I will create a year from now.

We take all this stimuli and boil it down to a message, a simplified thought or perspective on the world – then the physical work begins. It may be through writing, or sketching or editing images together in Photoshop, whatever the process for filtering the stimuli and finding the focus – a clear focal point, the central message. After solidifying the idea, I sketch the focal point of the future painting onto canvas and then I begin to paint. Over the course of the painting I develop the background and additional elements that will help support the story of the central image, I work from intuition with a a focus on color, form and composition. My goal is to create overall balance to the piece. With my paintings, which are generally 3×4 feet, I spend approximately 70 hours from initial sketch to finished painting. Then comes painting the edges of the piece, application of a finishing varnish and coated hanging wire fastened to the back. If I were to add in the time it took to develop my idea to the point of fruition, I am not sure where I would begin, thus an artist is paid for their vision, as it is impossible to track how many hours it takes to create a work of art.

Below is a peek into my process – the reference photos taken on two different art trips – the ‘selfie’ taken while in Winnipeg at the famously haunted Fort Garry Hotel, an old railway hotel in Canada designated a National Historic Site. The ‘stacked rocks’ photo at sunset was taken on a retreat to a cabin on the west coast at the Point No Point Resort. This past year I was also in Yellowknife, NWT famous for it’s aurora borealis. So many stimuli, collected over the course of a year, that ended up coming together in a painting, a year later.

Rock Stacking on a west coast beach

At The Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg MB

Painting Process: initial sketch on canvas


Painting Process: step 2 colour blocking

Painting Process: step 3 layering colours, creating depth and dimension