Larry and Christine Gollner open their home for the fall studio tour this weekend. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Couple welcomes art patrons in Oak Bay studio tour

Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture’s 18th semi-annual Oak Bay Artists’ Studio Tour is Nov. 4 and 5

Larry and Christine Gollner open their home for the fall studio tour this weekend.

They’re among Oak Bay’s established and emerging artists who use their homes and studios as backdrops to display original watercolour, acrylic, and oil paintings, fibre, photography, woodcuts, glass, and pottery creations in the fall studio tour produced by Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture.

It’s their third or fourth time on the tour. Instead of cramming guests into their respective studios – hers downstairs and his in the garage – they open the top floor of their home, put out punch and cookies and get ready to talk art.

“People are nice. They’re respectful,” says Christine.

The art chatter comes from two very different perspectives.

Christine’s work dates back further to her art training. While her first career training was at St. Joseph’s Hospital here in Victoria, her husband is a military man, meaning many moves for the family over the years.

“We moved 28 times and I started picking up art classes here and there,” Christine says. In 1985 she took her portfolio into Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she attended two years before spending a year at the Ottawa School of Art.

Then they lived in, and were inspired by, Yellowknife from 1989 to 1991.

“Christine was painting little paintings and giving the to the (military) members for newborns,” Larry said. That caught the eye of the local gallery, which coveted her and hosted a 41-piece show.

“She sold 27 paintings that first night,” Larry says with pride. All were gone the next day.

“Paintings were about all people could collect and take with them,” Christine says modestly.

When they came home to Victoria, she did a course with the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts at Pearson College in 1992, then got involved with the Victoria Sketch Club. Christine is currently the secretary and Larry the vice president.

Larry, became what he calls a “qualified lover and lugger” he loved his wife and lugged stuff around, so he started painting.

“I just explore and enjoy,” he says.

Victoria Sketch Club keeps them both engaged with annual jaunts around the Island and local trips to paint en plein air.

They’ve gone to Europe on painting trips meeting with other painters in Spain or France. Those trips are inspirational every day, Christine says. They get up in the morning and have breakfast, hit a market for bread, cheese and wine for lunch then hop in a van.

“You go to a little village somewhere and set up on the street and paint,” Christine says. They paint everything from villages and fields to rebuilt 2,000-year-old bridges.

Both enjoy the showcase the fall tour provides and visiting with patrons of the arts.

“If I were a ballet dancer, I wouldn’t dance in the closet,” Christine explains.

“It’s pleasant to see people and talk about the art,” Larry adds.

Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture’s 18th semi-annual Oak Bay Artists’ Studio Tour is Nov. 4 and 5 with studios open for the free, self-guided tour from noon to 4:30 p.m. Printed brochures are available at the Oak Bay Recreation Centres, Oak Bay municipal hall, and the Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Regional Library as well as at local businesses and through participating artists prior to the show.

Find the brochure online here.



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Christine Gollner at work in her studio. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Larry Gollner. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Larry and Christine Gollner open their home for the fall studio tour this weekend. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

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