Caroline Hunter answers questions from passersby as she demonstrates her particular style of painting using negative space during the TD Art Gallery Paint In on Moss St.

Hunter limits her palette

Bowker Creek Brush Up draws artists and those looking to ask questions

For someone who only started painting in 2000, Caroline Hunter has certainly made a splash in the art world.

After only a few years as an artist, she was invited to join the Oak Bay Artists Studio Tour, and quickly after was also accepted into the Sidney Fine Arts show. In 2009, with less than a decade of professional experience, Hunter was elected to Associate Signature Status by the Federation of Canadian Artists in recognition of her talents and passion for capturing her environment on canvas.

She may have only picked up a brush 14 years ago, but Hunter has been channelling a creative streak for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve always drawn, as a child, and actually designed clothes,” she said.

This particular talent developed into a unique opportunity when she was just 20 years old; in the year before she moved to Canada, Hunter designed original gowns for guests who attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

More than three score later, Hunter, now 81, continues to challenge her limits and take on new experiences.

She participated in the TD Art Gallery Paint-In this year for the first time, and found it exciting.

“The people are so warm and friendly,” she said. “When I was 80, I thought I was too old, but when I turned 81, I thought ‘what the heck?’” She’ll next be demonstrating her talents at the 10th annual Bowker Creek Brush Up on Aug. 10, something she’s enjoyed being a part of for more than half its history.

“I love the location,” she said of the Brush Up. “I think it’s a beautiful spot, and I happen to be right by the creek.”

She was introduced to the event through the other artists in the area and through the Oak Bay Community Artists Society, which organizes the Brush Up and is also involved with the Artists Studio Tour twice yearly.

Much of Hunter’s work is based on her particular brand of negative space painting, which lends a strong sense of balance to the finished image, she said.

“I underpaint, cover the canvas with dark red and dark blue, and paint the lightest colours last,” she said. “It’s so much fun. The fewer colours you use, and the more you keep some of the same colour throughout, the more it’s balanced.”

Hunter is also known for her extremely limited palette. She uses as few as five base colours, and blends all her greens from scratch.

Spectators wandering through the Brush Up are likely to see her working in her first love, watercolour, and she’s always happy to chat and answer questions.

Above all, she’s looking forward to painting under the dappled shade of Garry oaks and bigleaf maples.

 

“It’s a magical spot.”