From Tiny Seeds Grow Mighty Trees by Sue Pyper

Artist Sue Pyper celebrates natural world in solo show

New work by popular local artist Sue Pyper will be on show in a solo exhibition at Whytes Framing and Gallery from Oct. 13 until Nov. 3.

A free opening reception including an opportunity to meet the artist takes place at the gallery from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13.

Pyper, who is also well-known locally as a singer-songwriter, will be showing paintings, panels and three-dimensional wood creations, all exploring themes from the natural world – from animals and underwater life to abstractions inspired by nature’s shapes.

Recognized for her ability to realistically depict animals’ eyes, Pyper refers to her animal paintings as her “things that scare me” series.

“I’m originally from the U.K. and it’s been quite the adjustment living in Canada where there are bears, cougars and other predators. They fascinate and scare me at the same time, so I try to make them look as benevolent as possible in my paintings,” Pyper said. “They, like us, just want to be left alone and I try to show that side of their nature.”

As well as painting animals, Pyper works with live-edge wood from around Vancouver Island that she says is taking her art into a whole new realm. “I work with the shape and the grain of the wood to reveal the unique story in each piece. This new direction is quite different for me, and it does seem to resonate with people.”

In much of her work with wood, Pyper uses a technique called pointillism which involves creating images from dots.

“I find it meditative and it seems to be a technique well-suited to wood as it allows the grain and colour to still show through,” Pyper said.

Pyper started working with wood last year following a chance offer from local artist Jeff Hartbower to create an artwork out of a piece of the Berwick Garry Oak after the tree was cut down to make way for an expansion of the Berwick Comox Valley retirement community. Pyper was one of more than 40 artists who displayed work in the resulting exhibition at the community.

“I created three pieces for the show and I realized I really loved working with wood,” Pyper said. “It put me on a whole new learning curve and direction. Jeff is so supportive of the local arts community and I thank him for his part in sending me off down a new path and sharing his woodworking skills and knowledge with me.”

Pyper’s inquisitive nature has led her to explores many different mediums and substrates over the years, including watercolour, acrylic, ink on paper and panels as well as two- and three-dimensional wood.

Information about Pyper’s work is at www.suepyper.ca.

Whyte’s Framing and Gallery is at 1225 Lazo Road, Comox. The gallery is open from 9:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays.

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