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New painters take part in West Fine Art Show at Langley school

The latest edition of the art show was held at Yorkson Middle School

The spring edition of Langley’s West Fine Art Show brought paintings by 22 area artists to the Yorkson Middle School over the weekend, with a steady stream of people coming to browse their works.

“It was a joy to put the show together,” said Brian Croft, the longtime organizer of the show, as well as one of the contributing artists, himself.

The local school was a new location for the show, which has put on 25 shows over the last 14 years in various venues across Langley and in Cloverdale.

Croft credited school principal Stephanie Labby with helping get the show well situated.

When it opened, artists from around the region were waiting to greet residents and speak about their work, including Danyne Johnston.

“I’m one of the newbies,” she said. This was the North Shore painter’s first time taking part in the West Fine Art Show.

“I’m really enjoying all the artists,” she said.

Her paintings of B.C. landscapes and environments are mostly drawn from place she’s visited, although she doesn’t feel tied down to the exact details she sees or captures in a photo.

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Some of her paintings take multiple versions, including one for sale that is the fifth version of the same piece, she said.

“Some paintings fly off the brush, and others take longer,” said Johnston.

Langley-based painter Serge Démétrius Dubé was working on a small canvas of a cat while visitors came by.

“I’ve been painting in front of the public for the last 40 years,” Dubé said. He said he started out painting in Stanley Park and doesn’t mind stopping to talk to people while he’s working.

He’s been coming to the show for about three or four years, he said.

After 40 years of painting, Dubé said he still doesn’t know whether a painting is going to work or not when he starts.

Another local painter, Gary McDonald, has canvases that focus on well-trodden local areas, but which ignore realistic colour schemes in favour of what feels right.

“I take the photographs, and then I paint in a colour scheme that speaks to me,” he said.

One of his paintings features driftwood logs on Crescent Beach, in tones of pale lavender and soft reds.

“I paint them as if they’re lively, live things,” he said of the buildings and landscapes he captures.

Every West Fine Art show sees the artists contribute 25 per cent of the sale price of any of their paintings sold during the event to a charity the show is partnered with.

This time that’s the Langley School District Foundation, while the fall shows benefit the Langley Hospice Society.

In addition to the 25 per cent, the show gave a cheque for $1,500 to Langley School District Foundation executive director Alicia Rempel as the show wrapped up on Sunday.

The show also hosts an emerging young artist contest for students, which was won this year by Crystal He of R.E. Mountain Secondary, for her painting “Wasted Potential.”

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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