Centennial Square is an interesting place in terms of weather. When sunny the Square can bake like an open-face sandwich, but when windy or rainy it can be as cold as Charbel’s walk-in cooler. Wednesday, Day 3 for the Paint-In the Square, saw the weather take a turn for the worse with cloud and stronger winds, the cold type, coming in off Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Nonetheless, spirits were high for what would be a highly productive day in the Square. Kim brought his log back with an idea of what it would become, Sandhu painted about six watercolours to keep himself busy, Jenny reacquainted herself with pastels, and Linny took some inspired international students to Linnyland!
In the end, we didn’t have the worst Victoria could give us. In a summer devoid of many things summer usually has (sun, warmth, ice cream trucks…) we still managed to avoid rain, avoid any tents getting blown over (thanks to Steven from the Square and his miraculous tent weights!), and avoid boredom. With the weather the way it was I was expecting fewer visitors than the first two days, even though we had received some significant media coverage, but I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of two groups of international students and a summer day camp or two.
For my Day 3 post, I’d like to continue to bring personal stories of artists from the Square, but I’d also like to highlight one of our sponsors during the week (for the other sponsors, see Days 4 and 5). Charbel Hage, owner of Victoria’s Beirut Express restaurant, spent the entire week serving up falafels and shawarmas and other authentic Lebanese dishes. A friend of the Gallery, Charbel donated a lot of his time and money to be in the Square, especially when on the cold days there were fewer visitors. Being in the Square all week let me develop a friendship with this hilarious and generous man, and I’d like to thank him for all the tasty meals he provided for me and the artists. If you’re in Victoria, you definitely want to check out the only authentic Lebanese food on the Island (or so Charbel claims), and tell him Ben sent you!
On with the List:
- Adelle Andrew
- Agnes Ananichuk
- Jeffrey J. Boron
- Jenny Waelti-Walters
- Kim Nilson
- Linny D.Vine
- Noah Layne
- Russ Layton
- Sandhu Singh
- Victor Lotto
Charbel Hage whips up some tasty falafels for visitors to the Paint-In the Square. On the Friday, Charbel’s mom came down to help with the sales, a preparation for the TD Art Gallery Paint-In on Moss Street where Beirut Express had consistent lineups of 30 or more people! Thanks Charbel, it was great having you in the Square.
You know it’s cold in the Square when Kim puts a jacket on… This artist, who works primarily outdoors, spent three days in the Square working on this hollow log, which he will (likely) turn into a sculpture of bulrushes. Kim finished cleaning off the bark after Day 2 and started in on the design in Day 3, but the hollowness was a concern. “It might not hold together,” Kim told me, “I may need to put some epoxy in the bottom, we’ll see.”
What a thrill to have Linny in the Square on Wednesday. Her positive energy, bright yellow flower, and dreamy paintings helped brighten up our cloudy day – and her “I [heart] Linnyland” pins were a big hit with the international students who came to say hi. What is Linnyland? Click here to find out. Linny painted a dreamy view of City Hall for the Paint-In the Square, one of the many artists who embraced the interest in Victoria’s 150 celebrations.
After the dreamy Linnyism paintings I had to ‘get real.’ Or rather, hyper-realist. Noah Layne is an award-winning and world recognized realist painter who set up shop with the help of his brother in the Square. Believing that the best paintings are done from real life, Noah brought a model down to sit for a portrait. Of course I didn’t know this, so I was shocked to see this woman, who I thought was a random stranger from the crowd, sit so perfectly still for three hours! Joke’s on me I guess…
There is a special place in my heart for Jenny, one of the top print-makers in Victoria in my personal opinion. Jenny could be counted as an acquaintance to the family as she has done some work with my mom before, but I will always remember her as the lady who helped me with an art project in Social Studies 11. I visited her home one rainy afternoon five years ago and interviewed her about her art, learned how she made prints, and even received a massive canvas for me to create my project on. It was like a reintroduction to art after having been in art classes as a child. Needless to say my painting hadn’t improved at all in those years, and that is the last canvas I made. But who knows, maybe this Paint-In the Square experience will open my heart to art once again…
I’ll end my Day 3 post with a picture of Jeffrey Boron. This fastidious artist worked in the Square to create two beautiful oil paintings on maple boards. The wood has a better texture than canvas, according to Boron, and he uses maple because it is less likely to peel or split than the popular birch panels many other artists use. Jeffrey’s concentration and painting was only broken by people asking questions about his work and by the little girl who started busking next to his station. “She’ll make more money than me here today,” he said, “because she’s cuter than me!” When I checked in on Linny and Jeffrey during the Paint-In on Saturday, I asked Linny how Jeffrey was doing in his stall down the street she responded, “oh, he’s probably just painting away like he always does.”