The art of Shirley Dickie

Crown Isle will burst with art

Contemporary fine artists Shirley Dickie, Gail Neuls and Martha Ponting have show, Colourburst, July 13-14 at Crown Isle.

Three award-winning Comox Valley artists are having too much fun and it’s contagious.

Contemporary fine artists Shirley Dickie, Gail Neuls and Martha Ponting have set themselves the challenge of making you feel uplifted and are convinced that their July 13-14 show Colourburst at Crown Isle will do it.

The artists’ shared passion for colour beckons, speaks to, then captivates the viewer.

“Primary colours with high impact” is how Dickie describes her part of the show.

“A lot of movement: lively, happy paintings with deeper messages. They’re not just frivolous.

“Sometimes I paint for 24 hours straight. I’d paint with a stick if I had to.”

Neuls adds: “I love colour and am not afraid of it at all.”  Ponting finds great joy in experimenting with new products and colours. She finds it absolutely compelling.

“The more I do the more I want to do,” she said. “It’s become a part of me.”

Neuls describes herself as “a semi-abstract stylist.” Her love of lines and colour bursts forth in many of her works, although a new piece like Into the Silence suggests a new direction.

“You have to let yourself go where it wants to go,” she said.

Dickie resists categorization, other than to call herself a self-taught, “intuitive” painter.

“I study a subject, then I paint it and I don’t really know beforehand what it’s going to be,” she says. “I paint quickly to get the energy of movement and colour and excitement into the work.”

For Dickie, each show features a different phase of her development, such as landscapes, then a shamanic period, then on to what it means to be a woman, then what it means to live in a city. Her last show was “deep and morose,” whereas Colourburst at Crown Isle celebrates life.

Ponting’s works are even more eclectic and her art journey markedly different. She fondly recalls her farmer father taking her as a child to London, Ontario’s Western Fair to see the art. Later, she was touched on a daily basis by her Calgary employer’s large and sophisticated art collection.  She appreciated the firm’s deliberate creation of an atmosphere of creativity in the offices. After retiring, it was a course at Elder College and encouragement by Neuls that launched Ponting on her own painting odyssey in acrylics and mixed media.

North Island College also had a formative influence on Neuls, who took a four-year program with her daughter.

“It was a blast – the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” she said. “Painting abstractly opened a whole new world to me. When you do an abstract or semi-abstract you can put your whole self into it. You can use whatever colours you want. Your lines, your whole thing is inspired by yourself.”

Some artists revel in the experience of art shows.

“I love it,” Neuls said. “In college, I just loved when they did critiques. Because my pictures display a lot of mystery, I love to hear other people’s interpretations.”

Ponting especially enjoys hearing how children relate to her work.

With more than 75 vibrant works of diverse style and subject matter available for purchase, the show stimulates and invites the viewer to think more deeply. About a third are new pieces not previously exhibited. Many, such as Ponting’s Morning Fog (Lazo Marsh), depict the natural beauty of local scenes which will resonate with viewers from Vancouver Island and reflect a part of who they are.

The exhibition at the Crown Isle Resort clubhouse is described further at www.colourburst.ca, where links to the artists’ respective home pages are also found.

Children are welcome at the show.

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