The big wild card is the weather.
“It’s either a huge challenge or a huge bonus,” says Marg Selkirk. “We’ve had wind, rain and blazing hot sun, but most of the time it’s really pleasant.”
Selkirk and approximately 50 other artists will take part in the Originals Only summer show and sale at Marina Park in Comox the weekend of Aug. 6 and 7. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, artists will exhibit work in a variety of mediums and styles. Admission is free.
The focus is original fine art created by painters and sculptors from Vancouver Island, surrounding islands and Powell River. Now in its ninth year, the exhibit has established a reputation as an innovative and attractive art venue.
“Marina Park is a wonderful location,” says Selkirk, who paints in all mediums but is partial to oils. “I love the wide open spaces and the views of the mountains and harbour. There’s music and food. People bring their children and dogs and wander around. It’s a real family event. And it’s only a block from downtown Comox.”
What Selkirk enjoys most, though, is the opportunity to meet the public.
“Most painters are introverts and work alone in their studios,” she explains. “It’s really great to get some feedback on your work; it’s kind of like a completion for the painting.”
Selkirk got hooked on art at an early age.
“I won a colouring contest in Grade 1 and just carried on,” she says. “I’m self-taught; I learn from doing. I like the way nature looks and try to interpret it as honestly as I can.”
“I’ve always loved nature and even as a young child wished I could capture its beauty with paint,” she continues. “I’d go on long walks in the forest with my dog and be intrigued with the way everything looked. I didn’t really pay attention to where I was going and sometimes got lost.”
Selkirk’s been involved with Originals Only since Joe Smith launched the venture nine years ago.
“I’ve never missed a show,” she says. “And it’s really grown since the beginning. There are a lot of new artists every year, and that’s what keeps it fresh and interesting.”
Dolores Ordway is another artist who has been involved with Originals Only since the beginning.
“Marina Park is a great venue,” she says. “Tourists love it. In past years, we’ve had people from Alberta and even as far away as Europe. Some people are even beginning to plan their holiday to the Comox Valley around the show dates.”
As chairperson for this year’s show, Ordway points out that Originals Only is volunteer-driven and doesn’t receive any government funding or grants.
“It’s all just artists getting together and making it work,” she explains. “It’s good for the public and good for the artists. There aren’t many venues for artists like this, and everyone really enjoys it.”
Ordway, who works mainly in watercolour and acrylic, has been interested in art all her life but didn’t have time to get serious about it until she retired 15 years ago.
“My style has changed a lot,” she says. “I guess I’d call it traditional. I work from photos, but I change them around. The photos just provide the basic idea, then I throw the picture away and whatever happens, happens.”
For a preview of some Originals Only artists’ work, visit www.originalsonly.ca.