Friday 13 December 2019

December's History Post

History Corner
The former Maltwood home in Royal Oak, currently the Fireside Grill, has long been a favourite painting venue for our club, with which it has some interesting historical connections. 
As a recently built replicated Tudor Hall House, with a short-lived life as the Royal Oak Inn, the house was purchased by Katharine and John Maltwood in 1940 following their arrival from England in 1938. It reminded them of an English manor and they named it “The Thatch” (pictured below). Katharine, born in London in 1878, had aspirations in poetry before turning to graphic arts and sculpture. Drawn into the Arts and Crafts Movement which was fashionable at that time, she studied in Italy and London’s Slade School of Art and became a noted sculptor, antiquarian, and scholar of the occult, exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy during the inter-war period.
In Victoria she was encouraged by the influential Ina Uhthoff of the Island Arts and Crafts Society to join the local art community and she contributed two pieces of sculpture to the Society’s annual exhibition in 1941. Katharine was a keen sketcher, and was influenced by Emily Carr, from whom she bought a number of paintings. Through her many small drawings, she was able to capture the Pacific Northwest landscape in her uniquely mystical way.
Katharine died in 1961, and three years later her husband bequeathed the estate, which included an extensive collection of antiques and art work acquired from the couple’s global travels, to the University of Victoria. The house thus became the University art museum until the art museum was transferred to the Gordon Head campus in 1977, and the house sold to the Saanich Municipality in 1980. 
During our club’s Centennial Year in 2009, the VSC worked closely with the Maltwood Museum through its Director, Martin Segger, and several events, including a curated exhibition, were hosted there on our behalf.  
The University’s Maltwood Museum closed in 2011, with its core collection transferred to the Legacy Gallery, housed in a Yates Street building donated by local philanthropist Michael Williams. Thus continuity has been ensured as a testament to Katharine Maltwood’s considerable contribution to Victoria’s artistic and cultural development.
Trees Over Water,
c. 1939, by Katharine Maltwood, Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery 

Thursday 28 November 2019

November's History Corner

History Corner
Saxe Point, a favourite painting venue, again featured in Peter’s summer schedule. For 25 years this was the home of one of our club’s most distinguished members, Ina Uhthoff, who took inspiration from the beach, the woods and the views across the Strait to the Olympic Mountains.

Born in Scotland in 1889, Uhthoff arrived in Victoria via the Kootenays in 1923. She quickly gained recognition as an art teacher and established the Victoria School of Art with herself as principal. Versatile in both the arts and the crafts, she continually experimented in portraits, landscapes and abstracts as her painting evolved. As an influential and unifying figure in the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IACS,) she was able to straddle the differing artistic views of the traditionalist establishment and the maverick Emily Carr, being the only artist to contribute to both the traditional section and the Modern Room in the IACS 1932 exhibition. 

In 1936 a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts bore testament to her growing stature, as did her inclusion in the 1941 Who’s Who in Northwest Art.

Uhthoff befriended and introduced into the art community the newly arrived sculptor Kathleen Maltwood. An outstanding teacher, Uhthoff taught at the Summer School for teachers and various schools, including Glenlyon,in addition to working for the government’s Correspondence program. An effective administrator and communicator, she was a key figure in the establishment of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the recruitment of Colin Graham as its first director in 1951, and who was also a respected arts columnist for theVictoria Daily Colonist.

Despite the unselfish neglect of her own painting activity due to her wider efforts in the community, Uhthoff’s tremendous talent is well represented in the permanent collections of all the leading galleries in Victoria and Vancouver as well as in private collections.

Since her death in 1971, some ofher artistic gifts have been passed on to grandson Michael, a local furniture designer and builder. Our Club is indebted to Michael and his late mother Joy for their help and encouragement during the 2009 Centennial celebrations.

We have even a closer connection in that Ina gave lessons to our own Ann Nolte!
Ina D.D. Uhthoff, Girl Welder at Work, 1943, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Thursday 31 October 2019

History Corner ~ October 2019

Remember our end-of-show party organized by Terry McBride at the Oak Bay Bowling Club in March? It's hard to believe that this area was once the site of the Willows Fairground / Exhibition Grounds, with the massive pavilion and racetrack now vanished without trace. Significantly, prior to the formation of our club in 1909, this annual fair, which endured from 1891 to 1941, offered an arts component providing the island’s only facility for artists to display their wares. 
According to the Victoria Daily Colonist of October 4, 1894, a 23-year old Emily Carr placed first in the Pen and Ink sketches category, and the following year she won first prize in Pencil Drawing, Pen and Ink sketches and Painting on China. Many years later, in 1926, Carr had her own show within the Willows Fair art exhibition, and the next year, the Island Arts and Craft Society as a group contributed 150 paintings, and thereafter assumed responsibility for these annual art shows, improving both their quality and scope.
The 1933 event, organized by IACS member Arthur Checkley, featured Carr and others of the “Modern” school, such as Max Maynard and Edythe Hembroff, and in 1934, Checkley bequeathed Carr a whole section to herself.  
This proved to be her final exhibition at the Willows Fair, scene of her first public showings in the 1890s. 
By this time, now in her 60s, her work had at last been accorded recognition on more than a regional scale, although the achievement was not reflected in her financial standing. Following a severe heart attack in 1937, her health and energy continued to deteriorate. By 1942, giving more time to writing, her painting activities had petered out. The road to Emily Carr’s iconic status today was a long and hard one.

John Lover, VSC Historian

Wednesday 2 October 2019

History Corner ~ September 2019

With the end of our summer schedule, we now look forward to Nirmala’s attractive fall program at our home in Windsor Park. This is a seasonal Tuesday pattern which was established by a group coordinated by Josephine Crease (pictured above), and including Samuel Maclure, Sophie Pemberton and Margaret Kitto, in the early 1900s and thus actually pre-dates the formation of the Island Arts Club (IAC) in 1909. In those early days, Crease’s group used the name Sketching Club during the Summer, and Art/Studio Club during the indoor season. But it was the former title that prevailed. Those interested in sketching were to provide the backbone of the IAC, later the Island, Arts and Crafts Society, and the Sketch Club, which survived the demise of the IACS in the 1950s.

Nude models are now an important feature of our fall program. But, unsurprisingly in Victoria, their acceptance was a slow process. In 1922 it was announced that life classes would be started at the Club with four professional living models, both draped and nude. In the event, however, even in the progressive and liberal life classes of Ina Uhthoff in 1937, “nude” models were reportedly required to wear “bathing drawers” which reached their knees. And as recently as the 1980s, a ballot on preference for nude or clothed models came out just 10 to 4 in favour of nudes, with 2 abstentions. 
We’ve moved forward a little since!    

John Lover, VSC Historian

Sunday 15 September 2019

History Corner - August 2019 - Thomas Gore

Oak Bay has been the home of our club as long as most of us can remember. Along with James Bay, it was a popular place of residence for our original society members, and many were clients of their fellow member, architect Samuel Maclure. One of these was Thomas Sinclair Gore for whom Maclure, on a magnificent site on a hilly rise on York Place off Oak Bay Avenue, oriented a chalet design, “Arran,” in 1906-1907 to capture the eastern views to distant Mount Baker. The natural granite foundations rose through a massive arch to support the first storey.
Gore, a civil engineer, was not only a distinguished land surveyor who worked on the preliminary survey of the future transcontinental railway, but was also a well-recognized photographer who recorded the landmark picture of the arrival of the first CPR train to complete the transcontinental journey at Port Moody in July 1886. Following retirement, he was President of the Corporation of Land Surveyors of BC. His elder brother William, also a civil engineer, had been Surveyor-General of BC in 1878.

Born in Ontario of Irish parentage in 1851, Gore was a talented painter, and exhibited in watercolour and oils in virtually every society annual show from 1912 to 1934. He painted many scenes in Oak Bay and the Saanich peninsula, as well as in Europe while on holiday visits. Gore served as Society President from 1926-30. He died in Victoria in 1937.

John Lover, VSC Historian

Monday 20 May 2019

More Privacy for Members

Newsletters are now contained in a members only area.

Members may request the password from the Secretary or Webmaster at

Sunday 5 May 2019

Executive for 2019/20

With the completion of the Member Annual General Meeting, Victoria Sketch Club is happy to announce the following Executive for 2019/20:

VSC EC Members 19/20:
President                            Larry Gollner
Vice-President                    Myra Bayton
Secretary                            Mary Brackenbury
Treasurer                            Sharon Wareing
Show Director                     Agnes Oosterhof
Programme Director           Nirmala Greenwell
Communications Director   Janice Graham

Wishing you all the best, as you prepare for another great year.
Thank you for volunteering for these positions!

Saturday 16 March 2019

Bonjour Victoria Interview with Joan Head

On March 15, Radio Victoria's Louise Alepin sat down with VSC Member Joan Head on Friday's #bonjourvictoria to talk about the Victoria Sketch Club and the upcoming Annual Members Show and Sale.  

Click here for the interview!

Saturday 9 March 2019

Victoria Sketch Club 110th Annual Art Show and Sale - March 19-24!

Victoria Sketch Club Members have been very busy preparing and look forward to welcoming the world.

Opening Reception:     March 19, 7-9
Show Dates & Times:  March 20-23, 10-7 ; March 24, 10-4

Press Release (click on link)

Saturday 9 February 2019

Feb 12 - Exploring Patterns

Feb 12th. VSC members will be exploring Patterns.  From the macro to the micro, patterns are everywhere- in nature and in our everyday surroundings -dots, stripes, checks, bricks, etc. Florals, fruits, geometric shapes are just a few among the many sources from which patterns have been derived. Cultures the world over have used patterns decoratively or to convey ideas.  
Artists such as Klimt, Matisse, Van Gogh, Warhol, Lichtenstein used patterning extensively in their work. Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes explains how she uses floral motifs to create her patterned work, see attachment below.(courtesy MOMA)

Bring an item from home that inspires you. It could be colourful patterned scarf or fabric or some other object, natural or artificial.
The possibilities are endless.  Interpret in your medium of choice.

Incorporate fabrics and objects or floral and fruit with a backdrop of a patterned fabric.
Patterns do not have to be flat, patterns can have rhythm. Explore how patterns can be fluid and change shape as fabric folds and recede from the viewer.
    OR focus just on designing a pattern from one item eg. a leaf
    OR explore the pattern on a pineapple or a many petalled flower.

Some reading and images for inspiration

Japanese pattern artist Yayoi Kusama :

Thursday 3 January 2019

Membership List update time

VSC is currently validating its membership list.  If your email or private website information has changed please send an email to 

The updated membership list will be sent to all members with names and emails during the first week of February if not beforehand.  If you do not wish your information to be sent to other members in this way please let us know and it won't be included.

This is also an excellent time for you to update your membership page on our updated website under the members tab.  Have a look at your page and send any updated text and or images you would like included to the above email.  If you do not yet have a membership page on the website, there is no time like the present.  Please send us a short blurb about yourself as well as 2-3 sample images and we'll get your page established.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of the members of Victoria Sketch Club and artists near and far.  May it be a year of inspiration for us all.