Art Field Trip – Sunshine Coast


In August, I took a last minute art field trip with some artist friends to Gibsons, BC. I have always loved the Sunshine Coast for it’s scenery and the laid-back island feeling I get as soon as I step off the ferry. Usually I’m there to mountain bike but this time it was to see the exhibit of Jill Pilon, a fellow artist and former Vancouverite, at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery. Years ago I came across Jill’s work in the Eastside Culture Crawl and was immediately struck by her eye for composition and colour. She was one of the first few local artists whose work led me to consider tackling the world of mixed media. At that time when I discovered her work, it made feel really excited about painting again and I hadn’t felt that way in a really long time.

Her work continues to be exciting for me including her latest series White Noise. The gallery is a wonderful venue that showcases her work well. I can see the influence of one of my favourite artists, Cy Twombly,  in many of her pieces with her use of scrawled writing behind layers of white paint. I’m drawn to how she obscures large sections of the painting with opaque blocks of colour. I resisted the temptation to take another painting home with me.


On this field trip, we were also hoping to visit with some other local artists. One person I thought of was Ginny Vail, who I had stumbled upon a while ago on Instagram. I had previously known of her through regularly visiting her retail store Swallow’s Nest over the years before it closed. She had a great eye for collecting salvaged and vintage furniture. At the same time I noticed her handmade paper collages. On a whim I contacted her to see if she was willing to give us a studio tour.  Lucky for us she agreed! She was so kind and generous with her time to show us her work and her incredible studio. It is a space that you could easily get inspired in. Every corner had wonderfully arranged vignettes with objects full of texture and history. My favourite pieces are the ones she painted in workshop with artist Nicholas Wilton, which are the 2 small pieces pictured at the far left in the photo below. It would be incredible to learn from Nicholas Wilton one day. I loved Ginny’s enthusiasm and was so grateful that she was able to share her creative process with us.




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