This portrait of Steven Point was created by David Goatley. Photo supplied

Comox Valley Arts hosting numerous workshops this spring

In keeping with a mandate to support and encourage artistic excellence, Comox Valley Arts presents a broad selection of in-person fine art workshops after a long pandemic hiatus. Additionally, there are three virtual workshops covering various aspects of business for creatives and arts organizations.

Starting in March, with internationally acclaimed portrait artist David Goatley, this workshop is for folks who are intrigued by the nuances of painting the human form. David Goatley is considered one of North America’s foremost portrait painters. He has been awarded Signature Member status by the Portrait Society of America and the Federation of Canadian Artists.

Each of his portraits is as distinct as the individuals in them, capturing the personality and life in his subjects with real feeling. To stand in front of one his portraits is to experience meeting the subject.

It is a skill that has led to over 420 commissions thus far, across Canada, the UK and 24 states of the USA as well as in Israel, Panama, Spain and India. His subjects have included Princes, a Peer, a Prime Minister, Provincial Premiers, five Lt. Governors, First Nations Chiefs and Elders, a Bishop and leaders in Business, Academia, the Arts and the Law as well as numerous families.

The first two-day workshop with Goatley, “Getting Start with Portraits” on March 19-20, explores the basics of proportion, features, tone, and colour working with a live model. Following that, a three-day workshop from March 24-26 explores the positives and pitfalls of “Painting Portraits from Photographs”. Day one will focus on overview of techniques and what to watch for when using a photo and how not to be misled by them.

Days two and three, students will bring their own photo to work from and benefit from personal guidance by Goatley to turn an idea into a painting.

Plenty in April

In April, CV/Arts welcomes two accomplished and popular local artists teaching different techniques for painting with Acrylics.

First, on April 2-3, Susan Schaefer, Parksville-based artist, instructor and publisher of Island Arts Magazine, presents “April Showers Bring May Flowers – Florals in Acrylics.” Have some fun painting bright and colourful flowers, with their curvy shapes, their seductive movement and forgiving designs. Learn about what makes a good painting, how to make a strong drawing as your foundation, and how to work with glazes to build up your painting in layers.

The final art workshop of the season is April 9-10 with Cindy Mawle. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Cindy is intimately acquainted with one of the things that makes Vancouver Island so special… it’s trees. “Painting Trees from the Ground Up in Acrylics” is for painters with some previous experience to gain a more in-depth understanding of underpainting, negative spaces around trees, cool and warm greens and where to put them, branch flow, trunk details and more.

“It’s such a treat to present these high-quality workshops for our creative community,” says community engagement director, Kera McHugh. “It’s been a long couple years of creating at home, and this opportunity to connect with other artists and learn something new is a welcome change!”

Business workshops

Over and above these technique workshops, CV/Arts is also offering business workshops for creatives and arts organizations of all types.

A “Social Media Self-Audit” on March 15 via Zoom will help those feeling discouraged by social media find the places where things are getting stuck, and smooth out the wrinkles to help make Facebook and Instagram more fun again! Presented by Evie Lavers, co-producer of Tiny Lights Festival in Ymir BC, Evie also works on Special Projects for Arts BC and is a Trainer for BC Touring Council. Evie has particular expertise in music marketing, internationally, so this is a great opportunity for local musicians to up learn to up their social media game.

“Building Respectful Arts Workplaces” (March 30) is an exciting and timely opportunity to review and consider workplace culture and practices. This workshop is intended for non-profit organizations and cultural workers in any of the cultural disciplines or industries: managers, administrators, technical personnel, Board members, volunteers and, obviously, artists, to encourage better workplace practices and behaviours.

Presented by Cultural Human Resources Council, this workshop is provided at no cost thanks to support from the Government of Canada.

And on April 6, also via Zoom, “Outbox: Digital Development for Working Artists” presented by Pennylane Shen of Dazed and Confucius.

This innovative and unique seminar is designed specifically for fine artists interested in developing their online presence and promoting their work in a professional and efficient way. Shen will cover a lot of ground from common mistakes on artist websites to audience building and the importance of well-designed take-aways for your studio or market booth.

Pennylane holds a Master’s Degree in Visual Culture Theory from New York University and has lectured at various forums throughout Canada, the US and the UK.

Workshops are open to all levels, there is something for everyone to learn! For full details visit

ArtsComox Valley

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