Monday 1 July 2024

Member's Profile Series ~ Tony Cary-Barnard


Member Profile
with Tony Cary-Barnard
I grew up in South America, the UK and Canada. After graduating from university I joined the hotel industry working with major brands across Canada including Fairmont and Westin. I was also part of a Canadian start up CHIP REIT (now SilverBirch Hotels).

Over the years my wife and I have lived in Toronto, Calgary, Jasper, Kelowna, Edmonton and finally Whistler before retiring to Victoria late 2018.
I was an active artist during my high school years but unfortunately put it aside when I went to college and jumped into the business world for forty years.

Getting back into art in some form was always a retirement goal of mine. At first I experimented with acrylics and watercolors, but finally settled on oils as my medium. 

My subject matter is primarily Vancouver Island and the beautiful natural environment that surrounds us. I typically do my own photography and focus on landscape realism.
I am proud to be a member of the Victoria Sketch Club and appreciate the friendly welcome I've received as a new member. I have really enjoyed brushing up on my drawing skills and also learning from fellow members and the many great presentations that have been scheduled.
To see more of Tony's work check out his website at

NOTE: Tony is the Artist in Residence at the Delta Ocean Pointe in July, the Fairmont Empress in September, and is doing a solo art show at the Parkside Hotel & Spa in October. He is also scheduled at the Union Club in April/May 2025.

Note:  Our Member Profile section will return again in September 

VSC Social Media Survey ~ Note from the President


Note from the President

Coming Soon!

In the next couple of weeks you will receive, in an email, a short survey asking your opinion about the current VSC social media: the Website (, Facebook and Instagram (@victoriasketchclub). 

Please take the 5 – 10 minutes to fill this in to give us your opinion about frequency of use, important content and suggested changes. You'll have until August 1st to complete this, but please do so as soon as possible. The results will be made available, first to the EC, and then to the membership, using combined information only. 

Also, please keep in mind that the results may indicate a need for increased funding and/or volunteer involvement. 

If the Club does not have the capacity or interest then some of the suggestions/ideas may not be able to be implemented.

Thanks, in advance, for your cooperation and to Laura Brackenbury for her work on this. 


Saturday 1 June 2024

Members Profile Series - Nirmala Greenwell

Born and raised in Trinidad, West Indies, Nirmala taught high school art for 2 years before emigrating to Canada where she studied Indian, Chinese and Japanese art, history of art, design fundamentals, techniques of the old masters among others at UBC. Instructors Tony Onley and BC Binning were among many of her influential teachers.
Nirmala married beloved husband Jack and settled on Vancouver island where she taught high school art, and worked briefly for the Ministry of Education. She has sketched for as long as she can remember on what-ever-material was at hand, often painted with watercolours or oils. Eventually, she settled on painting with acrylics.
After raising 4 sons, Nirmala devoted more time to art while Jack built frames and provided musical accompaniment when travelling to painting locations.
Her work covers a wide range of subject matter, evocative of time and place, and she’s remained close to her tropical roots, infusing as much light as possible into her work. Nirmala especially enjoys the immediacy and spontaneity offered by plein air painting.  

She’s also painted many portrait commissions, and continues to derive inspiration from art museums around the world.
Nirmala has won many awards, including Best Canvas in Show in Sidney, Juror’s Choice and Honourable Mentions in other juried exhibitions. She has participated in numerous shows, and was the most recently featured artist in residence at Victoria’s Union Club. Her paintings are in private collections nationally and internationally.
Nirmala joined the Victoria Sketch Club in 2008, and enjoys the camaraderie of fellow artists as well as weekly opportunities to hone life-drawing skills.

She has served as assistant and program director for the VSC for nine years.
To see more of Nirmala's work, check out her website at
Instagram ArtbyNirmala

President's Note

 Greetings Everyone!

As your new President, I’m really looking forward to working with you over the next year as we, together, continue to support and nurture this creative and vibrant organization. 

There are a couple of projects I hope to initiate this year including a team to re-visit the Archives Project, started a few years ago. John Lover has been very instrumental in capturing the biographies of earlier members, as well as some important Club milestones. Given that this is the oldest art Club in Western Canada (1909), with well known past members such as Emily Carr and Ted Harrison, it is important to document and preserve this rich history and eventually file these documents with the Provincial Archives for posterity. 

Another project for a team to address is the VSC Website, asking if it is currently meeting the Club’s needs and what should it look like going forward. 

As you know, the expectation is that members participate so please let me, or any member of the EC, know how you would like to get involved. 

Hopefully the weather will improve, over the next few weeks. and we can paint at the various venues, set up by Rand, and capture the beautiful landscapes available to us in the surrounding areas.  See you there!

Again, I look forward to working with and supporting you as we create great art and good friendships. 
Happy Painting!



Tuesday 30 April 2024

Member Profile Series ~ Kate Gustin


Member Profile
with Kate Gustin
Kate is delighted to be a member of the Victoria Sketch Club, having joined in 2023 when she moved from California to British Columbia. She enjoys the communal experience of plein air painting and learning from fellow artists.
Born and raised in southern California, Kate spent time each summer camping with her family in the Sierras Nevada mountains. Annual trips to stunning national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Bryce, Sequoia, Grand Tetons, etc. installed a love of nature in her, which continues to inspire her artwork.

The walls of her childhood home were covered with her mother’s paintings, and created a warm association between art and a sense of family. For Kate, art facilitates connection with others, and she has enjoyed, both as a child and adult, gifting others with homemade crafts and greeting cards.
Kate's undergraduate degree is from Princeton University and she completed doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She's established a rewarding career as a clinical psychologist, working in a range of settings over the past thirty years such as outpatient Psychiatry clinics, Veterans Hospitals, College Counseling Centers, and currently in her private practice in Victoria. Kate integrates the principles of positive psychology into her work with clients and into the trainings she offers other health professionals. She is also a poet and published author, and has been featured on podcasts for her writings about the intersection between psychology and spirituality.
Kate began exploring painting in her thirties. Seeking an immersive and meditative creative outlet, she participated a series of watercolour classes at the local community college. She has since experimented with acrylics and collage, as well as jewelry design.
Kate secured more training in the craft of landscape painting during the pandemic through mentorship with American artist Matt Smith. Though her work has been selected and displayed in juried shows in the San Francisco Bay Area, she considers herself a novice artist. She is always learning, intrigued and, at times, intimidated by the complexities of light and colour, value and composition. She hopes to continue developing and sharing her artwork in the spirit of experimentation and discovery.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Member Profile Series ~ Myra Baynton

Member Profile
with Myra Baynton
I grew up in Victoria and developed an interest in art during High School. After receiving an undergraduate degree from UVIC I spent many years living and working in Alberta. There I developed an interest in pottery, but parenting, work, and school tended to take most of my time and I put painting ‘on hold’. I completed my graduate degrees (MSW, PhD) at the University of Calgary and worked in a variety of sectors:  educational television, healthcare, human resources, and academia. I retired from the University of Calgary a few years ago.

While living and working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I took a drawing course and re-discovered my love of drawing and painting. Travel has been a major interest and source of inspiration, and I always have a sketch book ready to create a visual journal.    

After Saudi Arabia, we moved to Cork, Ireland where I continued to work. Since returning to Calgary and then Victoria, I have taken a variety of workshops with local artists to learn and develop new ideas and techniques.  I like to experiment with different subject matter and media and am continually trying new ways to express ideas and concepts either realistically or in an abstract form. I like to sketch and paint urban settings as well as scenes of the West Coast. Although my first love is watercolour, I continue to experiment with acrylic and pastels. Being a member of the Victoria Sketch Club provides a wonderful opportunity to continue to learn.   
Next month's Member Profile: Kate Gustin 

Thursday 29 February 2024

Member Profile Series ~ Ken McKenzie


Member Profile
with Ken McKenzie
Some of my earliest recollections are sitting beside my father and watching him paint in pastels. This was my first exposure to art. It would be many years before I would return to further explore this interest.

After art school my creative interests led me into a variety of creative positions.  For 13 years I was with the Hudsons Bay Company (HBC) and eventually worked out of the head office in Winnipeg as the national director overseeing the implementation of the merchandising and visual presentation priorities in the 250 HBC stores across Canada. I eventually left the Bay and started my own design business as a retail sales consultant. At this time I also marketed, conceptualized, designed and installed seasonal decor packages for shopping centres primarily in Manitoba. 

I have also had a keen interest in travelling and have visited 35 countries and travelled by motorcycle in 23 of those countries. Some motorcycling trips have included riding from Germany to Corsica; the UK; Spain to Morocco; Winnipeg to the Copper Canyon in Mexico en route to riding the four deserts of North America; Victoria to Panama City, Panama; and Victoria to Cabo San Lucas.

These trips included many highlights including canyoneering in Utah and trekking to 100’ above Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal to name a few.

Having finally retired, I am now able to devote much more time to my passion for painting. After painting part-time in pastels for 20 years, I am now able to work full time on my art work. My subject matter has included the places that I have visited, however more recently I have focused on capturing the iconic locations from our VSC plein air outings and from other unique locations closer to home. 

NOTE: Ken McKenzie is the Artist in Residence at the Empress Hotel for the month of February. 

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Member Profile Series ~ Agnes Oosterhof


Member Profile
with Agnes Oosterhof
Agnes Oosterhof was born and raised in the Netherlands.  She obtained a BSc in Physical Education, and moved to Hong Kong in the early 1970’s, where both her sons were born. She took portraiture classes in The Hague and downtown HK, and taught at private girls’ schools. 

In 1980 her family moved to Toronto, where she taught for 17 yrs. In the 1990’s she joined the Willowdale Group of Artists. A job opportunity brought her to Victoria, BC, where she was the Principal as well as a  teacher in a small Christian school. She enhanced her certification by obtaining a Master’s degree in Leadership and Administration. 

In the arts field, Agnes enjoys painting (watercolour and acrylics), as well as sketching with pencil, conte and pen. Upon retirement in 2014, she joined the Victoria Sketch Club and was involved as follows:
Program Convenor, EnPlein Air organizer, Newsletter, Show Director 2020 (the show was cancelled due to Covid), Secretary and Show Co-Director 2024.

When she's not creating art, she enjoys visiting with family and friends, gardening, walking, knitting, making digital photo books, as well as being involved in her local church.

Next month's profile: VSC member Ken McKenzie

Submitting your Member Profile

Consider adding your profile to this monthly section! Please included a bio picture in jpg format, as well as a sample of your art. Word count can range from 200 to 300 words. Submissions and / or queries can be sent to

Note from VSC President


Note from VSC President
We are a very active and creative art club! With our annual Art Show less than two months away, I’m sure we are all sorting out our approach; painting that particular painting and of course, thinking about how we can help out, as our Show runs on the amazing contributions you all make to make it a stellar show.

In these days leading up to that time, there are moments when we are gathered together, working diligently, and there is utter quiet as we sink into our creative works. It’s a magical time as we collectively understand where each of us is at, given our shared passion as artists.

This is your newsletter and newsletters aren’t all about words. Often, photos grab one’s interest and imagination and keep us interested. With that in mind, I encourage you to take photos of your workspace, your beautifully messy palette, your work in progress. We can develop a bit of a library to tell the story of who we are. Send your photos to Amy ( and we’ll create a file as fodder for further newsletters and communications.

Yours truly,

Gillian Rhodes

Monday 1 January 2024

Member profile series ~ Phillippa Brown


Member Profile
with Phillippa Brown
Phillippa works in many medias including graphite, watercolour and acrylic, or basically whatever she has at hand to make a mark. Although she has been drawing since a very early age, finding the time to make art consistently has been a struggle in her adult life. Now retired, she hopes to start honing some of her skills and become deeply involved in the daily practice of making art.

Phillippa was born in England and grew up in Squamish, B.C. from the age of five to 21. In her 20s, she studied studio art at Capilano College before continuing on to complete a BA in Anthropology (Museum studies), and a little later, a Masters in Library and Information Studies (MLIS ’95) at UBC. This is where she made the acquaintance of the irrepressible Val Lawton, with whom she reconnected 25 years later here in Victoria.

After graduating from UBC, Phillippa came to Victoria and started working at the Greater Victoria Public Library as the Children’s Librarian for the Bruce Hutchison Branch. After 25 years at multiple branches and posts, she retired last year as a Planning Coordinator, responsible for statistics, a far cry from story times and anything creative. Having retired, she is now volunteer treasurer for the FCA Victoria Chapter and was delighted to join the Victoria Sketch Club last spring. At about the same time, Phillippa also treated herself to a new greenhouse which she is slowly learning how to use.

Now busy with gardening, art, walks with friends and family, Phillippa is wondering how on earth she ever fit working for a living into her life.