Saturday, 16 October 2021

Artist Feature of the Week - Sharon Wareing

It's baaaaaaack. With fall comes the return of our weekly Artist of the Week Feature. This week we feature Sharon Wareing. Sharon is Parkside Hotel Artist in Residence for October, 2021.

"I love the west coast beaches, the ocean, the brings a sense of peace to my soul in this crazy world."

Thursday, 30 September 2021

VSC Exhibit Updates

Government House Update
Our Government House Exhibition will start in November, with our paintings being collected on November 2, at the WPP.  The opening reception is to be held early 2022.. 

VSC 2022 Art Show 
Slated for 21-27 March in the GNS Junior School. More information will be forthcoming on these activities and volunteers sought to help make all these activities come together in the manner the Victoria Sketch Club prefers. 

History Corner ~ September 2021 ~ by John Lover

Our Club records in hardcopy for the inter-war period are very sparse, and we are fortunate that this void has been filled to some degree by a scrapbook, which young people in today’s electronic age might place in the same era as the abacus. 

This volume consists solely of clippings from the two local newspapers of that era, the Daily Colonist and the Victoria Times, which in 1979 would be amalgamated to give us the current Times-Colonist. It was fortunate that the local press at that time gave assiduous attention to the goings-on at the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IACS). Consequently, the scrapbook succeeds in giving us a wealth of detail and a thread of continuity to the life of the IACS during a period which saw the rise and fall of its fortunes.

The custodian of this tome was a Scot by the name of Donald Cameron, a well known and respected member of the Society. Born in Aberdeen in 1866, he studied art at the South Kensington Art School in London and the Scottish Educational Department. He emigrated to Canada, and became an early member of the IACS, contributing to the Society’s annual exhibitions from 1911 to 1936. Cameron also exhibited in Vancouver, staged individual exhibitions, and with other Society members showed at the arts section of the Willows Agricultural Fair. After occupying various executive positions in the Society from the mid-1920s, he served as president from 1933 to 1935.

As an artist, he was adept in both watercolours, oils and pastels. An accomplished sketcher, he was an original member of the Society’s Sketch Club component. Painting in a traditional style, he was credited with a Corot-like deftness in his landscapes, typified by his 1927 Broom in Beacon Hill Park (see below). His work currently features in the collection of the BC Royal Museum Archives. (Left: Beacon Hill Park, ink on paper 12.5 x 18.0 cm)

His labours on the scrapbook are in keeping with his reputation as a conscientious administrator, known for his exhibition cataloguing and recordkeeping of Society activities.  

Cameron resigned from the Society following the end of his second year as President in 1935, and signed off his scrapbook duties with this short note posted in his elegant handwriting:

"This page practically closes my active connection with the Island Arts and Craft Society – having retired at the General Meeting, which was held December 4th, 1935."

Donald Stewart Cameron died in Victoria in 1941.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

History Corner ~ August 2021 ~ by John Lover

Several of our present members will remember Peter and Liza Chesshire, two memorable personalities who both passed away during the past decade. Both were active in the club for many years, and each is remembered for specific contributions which in each case would set a tradition.

Liza’s initiative was referred to in a previous History Corner. Born in England, she served in the WRENS (Women's Royal Naval Service) during World War II and was awarded the distinguished British Empire Medal for her work as an ambulance driver during the London Blitz.

She emigrated to British Columbia in the early 1950s, settling first in Vernon and later moving to Victoria to take up a position as Matron at Glenlyon-Norfolk School. As President of our club in 1984, Liza struck a deal with the then Headmaster, an old colleague Keith Walker, whereby the school would be the venue for the club’s annual exhibitions. This is now a tradition which has endured for 37 years, interrupted only by the current Covid pandemic. 

To step back in time for a moment, Liza resigned as Matron at Glenlyon-Norfolk to take up a similar post at Shawnigan Lake Boy’s School, where in 1956 she met and married a teacher there named Peter Chesshire. The couple later moved to Victoria’s Oak Bay, when Peter secured a teaching job at St. Michael’s University School. Liza, after raising a family of two children, became a realtor.

Peter was also born in England, and after service in World War II and with a Cambridge Classics degree, emigrated to Canada. Once settled in Victoria, Peter joined his wife as a member of the club. Being an avid sketcher, with a distinctive and delicate style, he decided to organize a sketching component in the club’s Annual Show. Older club stalwarts will recall that Peter would invite members to contribute sketches by a firm cut-off date. With military precision, he would set up a large table in the old Glenlyon gymnasium, lay out the sketches and place them under a glass cover.

After Peter’s departure, the table and glass procedure was discontinued in favour of mounting sketches on walls or display panels, but, nevertheless, another Chesshire tradition had been established.  

Saturday, 31 July 2021

History Corner ~ July 2021 by John Lover

 Our club predecessors have always found the means to contribute to art education in the community over the years. Countless members have provided private instruction, the likes of Margaret Kitto, Ina Uhthoff and Will Menelaws became well-known art teachers at local schools, and Uhthoff founded and ran the Victoria School of Art.

However, our outstanding figure in the field of art education was undoubtedly John Kyle, who spanned half a century as artist, teacher, educator, administrator, author, and illustrator. Thanks to Victoria Art historian Gary Sim, Kyle’s remarkable achievements have been well documented.

John Kyle was born in 1871 to an artistic family in Hawick, Scotland, and he began his career as a watchmaker/jeweler while taking art courses at night school, at which he showed natural talents. Following a period working as a certified art teacher, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, emerging as an Associate (ARCA) with Honours.

After further art training in Bruges and Paris, he again took up school teaching positions in Britain before emigrating to Canada in 1905, where he was appointed Art Supervisor for City Schools in Vancouver. He also worked as an art illustrator and published a series of articles on sketching. Kyle was a founder member of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts (BCSFA), established in Vancouver in 1908 and contributed to its first annual exhibition the following year. The same year he also joined former BCSFA colleagues Samuel McClure and Emily Carr in the newly created Island Arts Club in Victoria, and later lent his experience in the addition of a craft section to what became the Island Arts and Crafts Society.

In 1913 he was appointed Director of Technical Education for the Province of British Columbia, a post he was to hold for the next quarter of a century, using its scope to start evening art classes in six Vancouver schools and taking art education to every school board throughout the province. Among other of Kyle’s achievements was the development of correspondence course, including reaching out to Nanaimo coal miners and children in isolated lighthouses.   

His advice was sought by the B.C. Art League, formed in 1921 with the twin goals of creating both an art school and an art gallery in Vancouver. He was largely instrumental in allowing the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts  (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) to take its first students in 1925.

From 1927 to 1936, he was Director of the Teachers Provincial Summer School in Victoria. In this capacity, having the insight to recognize Emily Carr’s unique gifts, he was the first to sponsor an exhibition of her work for the benefit of teachers from across the province.
It should be noted that Kyle’s range of knowledge and skills embraced a wide range of the crafts, demonstrated in 1931 by his publication, Design for Industrial Arts, which he wrote and illustrated as a resource for teaching woodwork, lettering and metalwork. In his own words, “creative thought and motor activities have been brought into close relationship; aesthetic and constructive problems are correlated with each other and the educational worth of industrial arts has been increased, enriched and dignified.”

Even after his retirement from the position of Technical Director of Education in 1938 at the age of 67, Kyle continued with the teaching of two of the provincial correspondence courses in art which he initiated many years before. The following year he became president of the ailing Island Arts and Crafts Society, and, as what turned out to be the last holder of that office, he unselfishly guided it through the difficult WW2 years until his 80th year in 1951. 

This period also allowed him to resume a painting career denied him during the years of intense teaching and administrative duties. Fittingly, he had one major retrospective solo exhibition of twenty of his oil and watercolour paintings at the new Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1957. 

John Kyle was still teaching virtually up to his death in 1958, when a tribute in the Province newspaper described him as “an outstanding educationalist and one of the most influential men in the history of British Columbia Arts and Crafts.”

Friday, 2 July 2021

History Corner ~ June 2021 ~ by John Lover


VSC member Nirmala Greenwell recently brought to our attention a book entitled “From Cordwood to Campus.” The author was Ursula Jupp, born in the Scilly Isles and brought here with her parents in the early 1900s. She was to become a well-known writer/historian, who made a big contribution to preserving Saanich history.

This volume offers a fascinating account of the history of Gordon Head. It chronicles the development of the area from its days as a primeval forest, through the time when its fertile soil was cultivated to yield phenomenal flower and strawberry growing, to the era of World War II with the construction of an Army Camp and the subsequent sale of this site to establish the nucleus of the present University of Victoria.

Nirmala noticed the book was illustrated by an artist named Mary Allard, and wondered if Mary had any association with our club. Indeed, she had, and Mary is still remembered by a few of our long-time members. A notable reminiscence comes from Kathleen Metcalfe, who, as a new member having inherited the role of treasurer, was firmly told by a stern Mary that she was “too young for the job.”

Mary was born in Scotland in 1907 and was a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. Remembered as an influential figure in our club and as a great organizer and scribe, she became interested in our history and the records show that she produced some of the earliest pamphlets on the subject. Her obituary shows her to have been a lady of wide cultural interests and activities.

Apart from her work as a book illustrator, Mary became recognized as a very able and talented watercolour artist, noted for her paintings of sea and landscapes, and scenes featuring lonely indigenous totems. The attached illustration features orcas in the Strait of Juan da Fuca. It is dominated primarily by white and blue with the orcas standing out through the stark black and white of their bodies. It also suggests that from her residence in Rithet Street, close to the waterfront in James Bay, she was able to enjoy the views across the Strait to the Olympic Mountains. 

Mary attended an annual paint-out at Cowichan as recently as 1984, finally resigning from the Club in 1990. She passed away in Victoria in 1995, at the age of 88 years. 

Sunday, 20 June 2021

VSC Artist of the Week ~ Myra Baynton

Travel is what excites me...the people, the sights, the sounds, the food! Wherever I go I have my sketchbook, pens and watercolors with me. A few years ago, in Myanmar, I was inspired by this grandmother and grandson on their way to market and wanted to capture this universal relationship.

See more of Myra's work here:

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Artist of the Week ~ Mike Pipes

Mike Pipes began painting in 2018 in retirement after a gap of 60 years from High School days. 

Over the past 3 years, Mike has worked primarily in watercolour. In September 2020 he became a member of the VSC and Treasurer in 2021.             

Most of the paintings in ½ sheet framed to 24” x 18"
Clockwise from top left: 

  • Montague Marine Park on Galliano
  • Cattle Point
  • Playfair Park
  • Mount Douglas Park

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Artist of the Week ~ Joan Head

This week we are featuring Joan Head. Find her on Instagram @paintingsbyjoanhead

"These Fluevog shoes, designed in honour of Dr. Bonnie Henry, continue to guide us through the pandemic in sight of brighter days.
Thank you Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Chief Provincial Health Officer, for being kind and calm and keeping us safe!
I find myself immersed in my palette when I am painting a meaningful subject. This is my definition of inspiration.
This painting was completed on June 5th, 2020.. "

Friday, 4 June 2021

VSC History Corner ~ May 2021


History Corner
by John Lover

By the mid 1930s there were signs that the Island Arts and Craft Society was losing some of the vigour of its golden years of the 1920s. The excitement of the 1932 Modern Room venture now seemed a distant memory with the stars of that “modernist” surge – Carr, Maynard, Shadbolt, Hembroff and Uhthoff – having now moved in other directions. Furthermore, there was a vacuum in leadership now that many of the pioneers of the organization like Gore, Maclure and Pemberton had passed away.
More evidence of a crisis came in 1937 when a special meeting was convened to confront the fact that the Society was unable to meet the cost of maintaining its clubrooms. A motion for the organization to continue was passed, albeit on a split vote, and the stalwart Josephine Crease was tasked with seeking out someone of the stature needed to lead the quest for revitalization. Her choice fell on the Reverend Robert Connell, a public figure in his own right, no stranger to the Society and, due to various twists of fate, now readily available for a new mission.   
Connell was born of Scottish parents in Liverpool, England, in 1871, and came to Canada at the age of 17. After work in various short-term jobs, he was ordained into the priesthood in 1895 and, following his marriage, moved to Victoria in 1901 as a vicar, thence retiring from the pulpit in 1923.

Connell, an accomplished artist, enjoyed a wide range of interests and displayed a breadth of talents. He taught botany at Victoria High School and he taught art at St. Michael’s private boys’ school. He had already become associated with the Island Arts and Crafts Society, having exhibited for the first time in the 1913 annual show.
Subsequently, he turned to a career in politics, joining the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the predecessor of the New Democratic Party. In 1932, after successfully running for the provincial legislature, he became leader of the Official Opposition in the BC Legislature until 1937. His ambition was to bring Christian principle into politics, but at a time of internal party strife, he was displaced by its militant faction who had become impatient at Connell's desire to bring about reform via constitutional rather than revolutionary means. Subsequently, standing as a candidate for a splinter party he failed to be re-elected.  
At this point, he was sought out by Josephine Crease, Honorary President of the now ailing Island Arts and Crafts Society, to lead the Society and assist in its reorganization.

During the tenure of his presidency, 1937-1939, Connell was able to reactivate his painting skills, and his work was on show at the Society’s exhibition in 1937 and 1938. His depiction of Christ Church Cathedral is in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Self-educated, he was a prolific reader and writer, contributing weekly columns on nature and geology to the Daily Times in the 1920s and 1930s and subsequently to the Daily Colonist until the late 1940s.  

The Reverend Robert Connell began the last phase of his career by returning to the spiritual world, and in 1940 became Archdeacon of Comox on Vancouver Island. He died in 1957.

IIlustrations:  Christ Church Cathedral, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, K03280

Saturday, 29 May 2021

VSC Artist of the Week ~ Amy Nohales-Kezes

 This week we feature Amy Nohales-Kezes.

Amy writes, "Nature has always been my main source of inspiration. Through the years, my art has evolved into a more introspective expression and hope it will never stop evolving. My goals are to go beyond what can be seen through the camera and express how that moment in time made me feel. There is nothing I love more than being in front of a camera with rich colourful paints next to me and lots of ideas pouring into my brain."

Friday, 21 May 2021

VSC Artist of the Week ~ Victor Lotto

 It's Friday and that means it is time to feature a VSC member in our new reoccurring piece: Artist of the Week!

Victor Lotto, an Oak Bay artist, has been taking advantage of the May blooms of camas in Uplands Park. This oil sketch (12x16”) was painted on May 8, 2021. Other examples of Vic’s work is at

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

VSC Artist of the Week Feature Call Out

Announcing the VSC Artist of the Week Feature beginning the week of May 16.

Interested VSC members can send an email with 1-2 images, promotional information for social media (Instagram accounts, websites) as well as relevant information for any upcoming shows. Put Artist of the Week in the subject line.
The social media coordinator will rotate through submissions on Facebook and Instagram once a week. If you DO have an upcoming show, she will try to schedule your feature week with the shows opening.
Questions and submissions to

Please put Artist of the Week in the subject line so your email can get to the right place.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

History Corner ~ April 2021 ~ by John Lover

One of the many joys of our Centennial Year in 2009 was its promotion of a widespread spark of interest from the past. Just one example was a query from Michael Checkley in England, asking if we had any information about his great-uncle Arthur Checkley, an artist who he knew had emigrated to Canada early in the last century. Indeed, we were able to let him know that Arthur Checkley had played a significant role in our Club’s history. 
Born in Handsworth, Staffs in 1873, he was a product of the Birmingham School of Art and arrived in Canada in 1913. It was testament to a reputation as an artist in eastern and central Canada that in 1928 the Island Arts and Craft Society (IACS) arranged a special social event to welcome him and his wife as they came to make their home in Victoria. They were guests of honour for the occasion, and several Checkley paintings were put on show. He first exhibited at the Society’s Annual Show in that same year, and doing so frequently until 1940, and he was soon elected to the Executive Committee.
In 1929 he mounted a solo exhibition in Victoria depicting Vancouver Island, Canadian Rockies and Saskatchewan scenery, and drew the following comments from a critic in the Daily Colonist: “(his) art has a strong interpretative quality, giving distinction to each thing, the artist having the advantage of a style which is mobile, versatile and facile. His work is not photographic, it being more truthful in that it conveys the feeling of nature more than it emphasizes the absolute dimensions of nature.  He uses whatever medium seems best suited to his subject, handling water colours or palette knife as occasion demands.”
Along with other artists, including fellow IACS members, he was signatory in 1932 to an agreement to boycott the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.  The complaint was that the Gallery in its selection of paintings was favouring a chosen few artists at the expense of the great majority of Canadian practitioners.
He is remembered not only as a notable artist – he went on to annually exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 1933 to 1941 -- but as an art educator and organizer. For some years he directed the art section of the annual Willows Fair in Oak Bay, Victoria, and, in this capacity, he gave Emily Carr a whole section of the 1933 exhibition to herself. This proved to be the last year in which Emily exhibited at the Fair. 
On his death in Victoria in 1964, it was reported that Checkley had “retired” from his profession of “Artist Painter” in 1940. His work currently features in the collections of the Art Gallery of Victoria, the BC Royal Museum Archives and the Maltwood Gallery of the University of Victoria.
Camosun College with Normal School and Tolmie Electric Traffic Shelter.
2) Landscape

Monday, 12 April 2021

YinMn ~ A new blue pigment


Fun Art Stuff

A new blue pigment

YInMn, an intriguingly cryptically named pigment, has amazed and excited industrialists and artists since it was accidentally discovered in 2009. A fascinating account describes how YInMn, (pronounced Yin-min), a blue pigment was accidentally created by chemists at Oregon State University, when Yttrium, Indium and Manganese were mixed with oxygen, producing an inorganic brilliant blue compound. Also identified as Oregon Blue or Mas Blue, after the name of the lead USU chemist, Mas Subramanian, YinMn is reported to be the first new blue colour discovered in two hundred years. Because the colour is durable and stable, even at extremely high heat, it was first used industrially for paints and coatings, and more recently has been used commercially. The colour inspired a new Crayola Crayon called “bluetiful,” as well as added to artists’ palettes a rich, intense, vibrant and brilliant new shade, in colour between Ultramarine and Cobalt Blue.

Making Blue Paint
Blue pigments were originally made from minerals such as lapis lazuli, cobalt and azurite while dyes were made from plants, such as woad in Europe and indigo in Asia and Africa. To make blue paint lapis lazuli and azurite were crushed, then ground into powder, then mixed with a quick-drying agent such as egg yolk to make tempera paints, or with slow-drying oil, like linseed oil, added to make oil paints. Watercolour was made by adding gum arabic and other additives to pigment. Before commercial manufacture of paints artists made their own paints in their own workshops, grinding their own pigments and mixing them with additives. Today most blue pigments and dyes are made by a chemical process in commercial laboratories.

Of concern to users, blue pigments unfortunately have detrimental health and environmental effects and are not durable. We have heard of the health declines and poisoning of artists such as Turner and Van Gogh purportedly caused or exacerbated by their paints. Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue and Azurite all pose some toxic risks for painters and many artists wear protective gloves while painting, particularly when using these blues. By contrast, YInMn Blue is chemically stable, does not fade and is non-toxic.
Availability and Cost
YInMn pigment remains extremely rare and very expensive and most artists’ paint companies have been discouraged from including it in their product lines; one supplier apparently prices a 40 ml tube of the blue paint at $179.40. Golden, Kremer and Shepherd paint labs are developing YInMn product lines. Golden Artists Colours is offering heavy body acrylic, oil and watercolour paint made with YInMn pigment. The colour is not yet available but one can join a notification list by contacting the Golden Customer Service Team and Custom Lab.  

Unfortunately, the stunning and appealing colour has been seized by the black market who use illicit pigment to produce copy-cat paints, milling the dry pigment into an acrylic emulsion. Be wary of low-priced paints claiming to be YInMn Blue, or a trade name that has the ring of the pigment name, perhaps offered through arts and craft on-line or discount suppliers.

YInMn Pigment Blue Bird

Connecticut artist Michael Rothman produced his own blue paint by hand-milling dry YInMn pigment in an emulsion resin and painted this imagined 47 million-year-old bird believed to have been the oldest to have blue plumage. The colour is astoundingly intense and perhaps serves as an inspiration for pictures we may one day produce when this paint is ours to use, too.

More Colours to Come
Following the surprise and success of YInMn Blue chemists have expanded their research and have synthesized a range of new pigments including oranges, purples, turquoise’s and greens. Elusive so far is red, an ongoing challenge to create.
-- researched and submitted by Janice Graham

Thursday, 1 April 2021

History Corner ~ March 2021 ~ by John Lover

History Corner
by John Lover

The band of enthusiasts who gathered together in 1909, fired by a determination to encourage artistic and cultural development of Victoria in the form the Island Arts Club, included some prominent figures in the community's history. Such names as Pemberton, Crease, O’Reilly, Maclure and Carr roll easily off the tongue. Yet one that has never been subjected to biographical  excesses is the lady who hosted these initial meetings and seems to have played a significant part as one of the moving spirits-- if not the moving spirit -- in the coordination of the group.

We do know that the understated Mary Bampfylde Daniell was born in Devonshire, England, from where she moved to London to pursue her artistic interests under the tuition of members of the Royal Academy, in which she was accepted as a probationer, and in due course admitted as a student. She exhibited her work in the capital from 1898 to the time of her emigration to Canada and her arrival in BC in 1905.

With a partner, she started an advertising and illustration company under the title of Rochfort and Daniell. She also began to paint local scenes and people, and was soon accepted into the developing Vancouver art community. She initially exhibited with the Studio Club, then the focus of local art, in 1907, and then with the BC Society of Fine Arts, formed in 1909, of which she was a charter member. During this period in Vancouver she exhibited in the company of such fellow artists as Samuel Maclure, John Kyle and Emily Carr, soon to be companions in a new enterprise. 

The scene had shifted to Victoria by October 1909 when the publication This Week reported:  “A very representative meeting was held… at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. C. Bampfylde Daniell, when a large number of Victorians prominent in artistic circles were present, and the unanimous resolution was passed to form a Society to be called the Vancouver Island Society of Arts and Crafts. Mrs. C. Bampfylde Daniell was elected Honorary Secretary and it is proposed to call a more extensive meeting at an early date.” 

And so the story unfolded. After a series of meetings hosted at the Bampfylde Danniel home at 609 Michigan Street, a residence built in 1860 and demolished in 1925, the outcome was the Island Arts Club which was comprised of 56 charter members. In a subsequent article in Opportunities Magazine in 1911, Mary expressed her thinking behind this project: “It has long been held as a matter of regret among lovers of art in Victoria that artists come to this city, but do not remain, and it is to create some feeling of friendliness and goodwill toward them that the Island Arts Club has been started.”  

She was able to report that the Club boasted 80 members after its first year, and paid tribute to its first President, J.J. Shallcross, for using his local influence in the vigorous promotion of this new venture.

Mary’s subsequent involvement with this new body seems to have been relatively short, with contributions to just three of its annual shows – in 1910, 1912 and 1913. However, what she went on to say was to prove prophetic: “The Island Arts Club has come to stay, and it is hoped that it will receive the support and encouragement due to it from all lovers of the beautiful.”

Indeed, it has, and after more than a century of fluctuating fortunes, we’re still alive and well.

IIlustrations:  (1) Entrance to Victoria Harbour (2) 609 Michigan StreetHi

Sunday, 28 February 2021

History Corner ~ February 2021 ~ by John Lover

History Corner
by John Lover

Just after World War II, a young grade school pupil who liked to paint was set up by her mother to take private oil painting lessons with a well-established Victoria artist. She travelled from home in Oak Bay to Tolmie Avenue, off Quadra Street, on Saturday mornings in the summer where instruction took place in a back yard studio. 
This was all a big adventure for a shy young girl who recalls her teacher as a quiet, studious and conscientious gentleman who methodically taught the basic approach to oil painting. She was shown the various colours, their place in order on the palette, the use of oil in mixing the paint and turpentine for cleaning the brushes, and introduced to still life subjects such as fruit and jars. Though initially feeling somewhat intimidated by this rather reserved individual, the young pupil came to like him and appreciate his abilities as artist and teacher. She also got the impression that he was of modest means and made to struggle hard to make a comfortable living.
The young student was our own Ann Nolte, and her teacher was a Scotsman of some repute by the name of William (Will) Menelaws. The experience, along with the later influence of such luminaries as Ina Uhthoff and Arthur Lismer, laid the basis for Ann’s development into a distinguished painter of landscapes and portraits.
Menelaws, born in Edinburgh Scotland in 1883, was a product of the Edinburgh College of Art, and a gold-medal winner at the Royal Scottish Academy. He also spent several years studying architecture. Moving to Canada, he joined the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IACS) and contributed to its annual exhibition every year, with one exception, from 1912 to 1940. During these years he also exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum and the BC Society of Fine Arts.
A key member of the Society’s Sketch Club component, Menelaws was a prolific and versatile artist in pen and ink, watercolour, oils and tempera. He even ventured into impressionism during the 1920s, but he is perhaps best remembered for his fine portraiture and his landscapes. He became well known and highly respected as a teacher, both from his studio and in Victoria area schools, notably at Glenlyon from 1938 to 1954 and for thirty years at Oak Bay Senior High, to which the Victoria Sketch Club later donated an annual art prize in his name.
In the 1940s Menelaws became part of the group, which included several other IASC artists, seeking to sponsor an art gallery in Victoria, an ambition which came to fulfilment in 1951. 
Although maintaining his links with the Victoria Sketch Club, his teaching duties limited his exhibition time after WWII. However, his one-man show at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1962, prompted Colin Graham, Director of the Gallery, to dub him “Dean of Victoria artists.”
He was awarded life membership of the Victoria Sketch Club in 1964, the year he departed to live with relatives in Port Angeles, Washington. He died there two years later.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Members in the News! Pathways Show

 Mark your calendars for March 5-21 at The Chapel Gallery.

This show is not associated with VSC but has three members participating: Anne Bowen, Sharon Waring and Maureen Ness.

Congratulations painters ~ it looks like it will be a dynamic and gorgeous show.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Members in the News


A big congratulations to VSC member Mike Pipes!

Mike's watercolour painting was published in the English language The Art of Watercolour Magazine published in France. The 40th issue includes Mike's painting, voted in top 100! The scene and location are in Mount Douglas Park.  

Here's a link to the competition rules for future Art of Watercolour Magazine submissions, similar to the one Mike entered last Fall.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

January 2021 - History Corner by John Lover


The death of Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher in Victoria in 1994 marked a life associated with the world of art and of our Club which encompassed the best part of a century. 
Born Edythe Hembroff in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1906, she later moved with her family to the Rockland area of Victoria, where she attended Victoria High School, and during this period took painting lessons from Margaret Kitto, a member of the Island Arts Club. After graduation, she studied art at the San Francisco Art Institute where she met a Californian Marian Allardt, with whom she sailed to Europe in 1928 to further her art education. The pair attended art school in Paris, continuing their studies by traveling throughout Europe, sketching and painting in oils and watercolours, and freely experimenting in the latest artistic fashions. Sophisticated and well-educated, Edythe also made a study of the latest women’s fashions. 
Returning to Victoria in 1930, Edythe received a somewhat surprising invitation to take tea with Emily Carr, with whom she shared the experience of having attended three of the same art schools in England, France and California. At Emily’s home she met Frederick Brand, who was to become her first husband, and he too became a great admirer of Emily. Both lent their support to their friend’s rise to prominence. This marriage did not endure, but the Emily and Edythe’s unlikely yet enduring friendship did, and lasted 35 years. These two enjoyed three sketching trips together, and Edythe’s portrait of Carr, painted on one of these occasions, is part of the permanent collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. At the same time Edythe strove to develop her own distinctive painting style.
Hembroff first exhibited with the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IACS) in 1930. Her painting “Nu”, an oil-on canvas shown at a Paris exhibition, also in 1930, won a major award at the Art Institute of Seattle later the same year. This was one of her four paintings displayed in the “Modern Room,” organized by Vice-President Max Maynard as a component of the IACS annual exhibition in 1932, with the intent of introducing modern trends in art to the traditional art scene in Victoria. Other contributors to the Modern Room included Emily Carr, Jack Shadbolt, Ina Uhthoff, John McDonald and Maynard’s 14-year old prodigy Ronald Bladen. 
During World War II, Hembroff joined Prisoner of War Censorship in Ottawa, where her supervisor was Dr. Julius Schleicher, a Pole whom she eventually married. During her 20 years in Ottawa she never touched a paintbrush, but kept in close touch with Emily Carr up to the time of the latter’s death in 1945.  After returning to Victoria, Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher wrote her first book about Emily, entitled “M.E.”, published in 1969, and in 1978 there followed a sequel, “Emily Carr, the Untold Story.” It has been suggested that this devotion to Emily happened at the expense of both Edythe’s own painting and writing time and perhaps resulted in her lack of recognition as an artist. 
In 1974 she was appointed by the provincial government as a special consultant on Emily, and diligently researched the life of her old friend in the Provincial Archives. In 1981, at the Emily Carr Gallery in Victoria, she organized a partial re-creation of Max Maynard’s 1932 Modern Room. Her catalogue, written for this event, is now a collector’s item. Edythe was supported in this venture by UVic Professor Kerry Mason, an authority on Emily and indigenous art and the first Curator of the Emily Carr Gallery, and who, incidentally, made a presentation for us at Windsor Park in 2019.
In 1982 Edythe gave a presentation at UVic entitled Victoria’s Art Circles and Victoria’s Women, 1932, alongside her biographer Christina Johnson-Dean, who discussed traditional values in Victoria’s art circles at that time based on her Master’s thesis on Josephine Crease. 
Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher work is held in the permanent collection of the AGVV, UVic Legacy Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery and BC Archives.