Brushstrokes - Four Penticton Painters PDF Print E-mail

2005-11- by Susan McIver -

Four good friends with a life-long love of painting recently teamed up to hold a show of their paintings. All four women - Mabel Gawne, Yvonne Dubeau, Naomi McLean and Eunice Purdy are members of Brushstrokes, a group of artists who meet weekly at Penticton's Art Gallery of the South Okanagan. These accomplished painters are also members of the Federation of Canadian Artists.

The show was held in the home of Purdy's daughter, Ruth Campbell, in Trout Creek in Summerland from September 4th to 10th.

With rays of late summer sunshine streaming in, Campbell's house surrounded by lush gardens made an excellent art gallery. "Lots of people came through, even several visitors from Japan," said Purdy, referring to the enthusiastic response to the show. A number of the people who attended also purchased paintings.

"We'd love to do another show if we can find a suitable location," said McLean. Finding a place to share their art with the public is a continuing frustration for the women. McLean explained that in many shows artists can display one or two paintings whereas in their recent group show each woman had a dozen to fifteen. "We need a Visual Arts Centre in Penticton where we can display our work, hold workshops and store our materials," said Gawne.

The paintings of the four women are as diverse as their backgrounds. While living in Fort St. John, Dubeau met the distinguished painter, Ted Harrison, noted for his bright colours and simplified style. "The North was his inspiration and it soon became mine as well," said Dubeau, who paints for fun. Retirement brought Dubeau to Penticton, but she continues to paint vivid skies and people involved in Northern winter activities. She also does views of the Maritimes and Tuscany.

Originally from South Africa, McLean spent a number of years on the Prairies before moving to Penticton. "Landscape painting gives me a special pleasure," said McLean, who started painting as a toddler. She believes God is present in all creation and tries to communicate this in the patterns, colours and moods of her work. "I enjoy creating beauty and I also enjoy solving the problems inherent in the process," she said.

Gawne, a lifelong resident of Penticton, has always been fascinated with the unusual beauty of the Okanagan landscape - its rolling bench lands, sagebrush, orchards, clay cliffs and lakes. She has studied with many internationally known artists and her paintings hang in such collections as those of the Hiram Walker Distillery and Canada Trust. Many are in public and private offices, institutions and homes in western Canada and the U.S.A.

An American by birth and a current resident of Penticton, Purdy has always had a love of nature. "These paintings are a way of recording the thrill of the way nature appears," said Purdy, who began painting at the age of nine years while in bed with scarlet fever. She attributes her training in architecture as well as fine art for her special ability to convey what she sees around her in her paintings. "Whenever I have had the opportunity to paint, I have tried to record the beauty and the spirit of the place that I have observed," she said.
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