African masks, winter scenics to be found at annual art show in Maple Ridge

The Vicuna Art Studio’s annual Winter Art Show will feature work of artists with special needs

(Contributed) Natasha Brayshaw stands beside her painting Wildflower, which will be for sale at the Vicuna Art Studio annual Winter Show.

Winter landscapes, African masks, still lifes and abstract paintings, pottery and yarn bowls will be for sale at the Vicuna Art Studio’s annual Winter Art Show.

More than 60 pieces of work will be on display by around 40 artists with differing abilities.

Vicuña Art Studio was opened in 2008 by local artist Maria Daley. It is a teaching studio, supporting people with developmental disabilities that is owned and operated by the Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living.

Goals of the program are based on an individual’s likes, abilities and expectations.

The program is therapeutic for participants and improves their self-esteem, self-confidence, concentration and motor skills.

Ilse Phillips, who has been the director of the studio for the last three years, believes that there are often preconceived notions about people with special needs.

“Often people who come to the art show are emotionally moved by what people are capable of,” she said.

“Each artist is excited about having their art work on display and people are coming and visiting them and recognizing them as artists,” said Phillips, noting that everyone who comes to the studio is an aspiring artist.

Natasha Brayshaw has been attending the studio for many years and paints using acrylics. Brayshaw is known for having a gift for mixing paint to achieve the perfect colour for every painting that she does and loves to paint nature. This year Brayshaw will be displaying an 3’ by 4’ acrylic called Wildflower that she did using a palette knife and was inspired by a painting she saw in a book.

On display will also be an African mask by Jessica Bailuk and a watercolour of a café scene by Eric Darville.

Another artist has been working on her painting since January.

“What she does is she layers. She gets a very thin brush and she layers upon layers upon layers paint, on one line,” explained Phillips.

“It builds up so you have all these textures. It’s quite amazing all the work that is put into it and the thought. I actually didn’t put any glass on the frame because I want people to touch it so they can feel the texture and the work that she’s put into it,” said Phillips.

Another artist has been influenced by the famous Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani, and another has been developing her own unique style where she blocks colour to create the effect of stained glass.

The show is special in that it highlights the fact that people with special needs and people with differing abilities have ambitions to be artists and have wonderful abilities in the arts, Phillips acknowledged.

Money from sales is divided between the artists and studio, with the artist getting 60 per cent and the studio 40 per cent for art supplies and for future shows.

The Vicuna Studio annual Winter Art Show takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 3 at unit 1, 11491 Kingston St. in Maple Ridge.

• For more information call 604-465-7526.

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