View Royal artist Frances Beckow

West Shore artists’ creative passion years in the making

Oak Bay's Gage Gallery show based on ancient Chinese legend

Two artists from the West Shore trace their lifelong love of artistic pursuits back to their childhoods.

Although Langford resident Liz Wells didn’t begin painting seriously until five years ago, she has been involved with creative processes since her early years growing up in England. Wells, who moved to Canada in 1973, has worked as a photographic stylist in television commercials and advertising photography.

View Royal resident Frances Beckow retired 11 years ago after a career as an elementary and secondary school teacher. She has also been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember.

Both are graduates of the Vancouver Island School of Art and members of the Gage Gallery Arts Collective in Oak Bay.

“I tend to be more of a representational artist,” Wells said. “I like figurative works and working on how women are represented in art.”

A member of the collective since May, she said the group environment and working with the other artists provides support, inspiration and encouragement. “The interaction is one of the key elements I like.”

Beckow’s main focus is acrylics, and she leans toward abstracts and nature scenes.

“I’m often inspired by the natural beauty I see on hikes and walks on the West Shore,” she said. “Esquimalt Lagoon and Thetis Lake are two of my favourite spots.”

Having joined the collective as an original member in 2014, Beckow agrees wholeheartedly with Wells’ thoughts on interacting with others with similar interests.

“You get to work with people who you’ve never met that share a strong passion, an often intense interest in creating,” Beckow noted. “Often as an artist, you’re just working in your studio alone. Working together provides opportunities to do things you may never get the chance to otherwise.”

The Gage Gallery Arts Collective features the works of 19 diverse artists from throughout the Capital Region who all contribute to the operational costs and all aspects of the gallery.

All of the works on display are for sale, and exhibits that highlight one or several artists change every three weeks.

The collective is currently featuring Red Thread, a show inspired by an ancient Chinese legend and one of two exhibits a year involving all of the artists. Legend says the Red Thread of Destiny is an invisible thread that connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

The show is on until Jan. 7 at the gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave. For more information, call 250-592-2760 or check out gagegallery.ca.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

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