Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild artist Dacia Moss assembles a lily display at on the Havenwood property in preparation for Acres of Art.

Wet canvas, ‘land art’ at the Coast Collective

Facing wind, rain, sun or hungry deer, large scale installations of flower art, if anything, need to be robust.

Facing wind, rain, sun or hungry deer, large scale installations of flower art, if anything, need to be robust.

Broad and towering “land art” displays dot the forested grounds of the Havenwood House, providing the whimsical backdrop to the Coast Collective’s Acres of Art show this Sunday.

“I love the challenge. There’s a lot working against you doing large arrangements in nature,” said Dacia Moss with the Victoria Flower Arrangers Guild, while working on a display sprouting with white callas lilies.

“Deer don’t eat the lillies — so we think. We need to use what will survive the sun and won’t blow away. And a big challenge this year is the tent caterpillars.”

Five teams of guild members have assembled seven land art installations, all offering a mix of flowers and ornamental objects — such as a hanging model of the solar system or a 20 foot long log draped in fox gloves and California lilacs.

Moss said she originally envisioned installations covered in sunflowers, but it’s been a soggy spring and a poor growing season. They have to use what they can get.

“At the Coast Collective it’s a big landscape so we need big pieces to stand out against the grass and trees,” she said. “We always get a fabulous response because it’s so unusual.”

Acres of Art, now in its third year, draws hundreds of artists and art admirers to the Colwood property for a packed day of events.

The flag drops at 9 a.m. for the wet canvas competition, where artists spread out on the property and work feverishly to complete a painting masterpiece before 2 p.m.

The show is juried and the top three artists get cash prizes — $100, $75 and $50, certainly enough for winners to make the claim of being a “working artist.”

Last year 10 painters entered the contest. A number of artists of note plan to participate, including Keith Hiscock.

“You can go observe the artists at work,” said Barbara Giuliany, one of the four founding members of the collective. “They don’t like to be interrupted, but they don’t mind being watched.”

Creating an eclectic mix of guests, a number of animal rescue organizations will be on the grounds with animals, and a number of women in Victorian period costumes will be strolling the grounds.

“They relish creating their costumes,” Giuliany said. “They will be in character, putting on airs.”

At 2 p.m., Sidney Allinson, of the Sir Winston Churchill  Society of Vancouver Island, will give a lecture about the famous wartime British prime minister as an artist. The lecture is $10 and goes toward the society.

“There’s a lot going on,” remarked the Collective’s Terri Rodstrom. “There’s something that should appeal to everybody in some way or another.”

Acres of Art is July 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Coast Collective, 3221 Heatherbell Rd. Free entry.

The wet canvas competition has a $10 entry fee and starts at 9 a.m. For more see



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