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114-year-old arts club opens doors to annual Oak Bay show and sale

Victoria Sketch Club show opens March 21 in Glenlyon-Norfolk School gym
Oak Bay artist Myra Baynton is among the Victoria Sketch Club members with works on display during the annual show and sale that opens at Glenlyon Norfolks School on Beach Drive March 18. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Artist Myra Baynton’s artwork is as diverse as her life and career.

She brings perspectives from her worldwide travels and nature and flowers of her roots in Oak Bay to the canvas.

“That’s just me. I’m always experimenting,” she says.

Her interest in art started at a young age, fostered by teacher Bill West at Oak Bay High – then life, kids, marriage and career came along.

Along the way, exploration and experimentation meant lending her talents to working in television, human resources, social work and education over her career. A world traveller, the family also lived abroad for a time in Saudi Arabia and Ireland before returning to Calgary, then moving to Oak Bay.

“I had a lot of fun,” she says with a smile.

She dabbled in pottery when the kids were young. While living in the Middle East, she took a class in drawing and painting.

She always found a way to fit art in, but the last four years since retirement, Baynton started dipping deeper into her art again.

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“I’m a traveller, so that is one of my areas of inspiration,” she says.

A keeper of visual travel journals, Baynton flips among her pages of sketches, notes and photographs in search of a new idea. Nature, particularly the ocean and flowers, provides further inspiration.

As far as a medium, her first love seems to be watercolour with its fluidity and transparency.

“Sometimes they can control you. You kind of have to go with the flow with watercolour,” Baynton explains.

But like most things in life, she’s explored other media. For example, the allure of the forgiving nature of acrylics, and the texture they can provide.

“It provides different options in terms of what you can do.”

Oil pastel is the latest exploration – so far it’s nice, smooth and messy.

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“But messy is fun,” she notes. “And if it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it.”

Baynton was in the Oak Bay Art Club that folded – and five years ago found herself joining the oldest arts club in Western Canada. The Victoria Sketch Club formed in 1909 under the name Island Arts Club and included 56 charter members, including famous folks such as architect Samuel McClure and artist Emily Carr.

“It’s a club that is really supportive and really welcoming to new members,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to exchange ideas and get feedback and critiques. It’s a real opportunity to grow as an artist exchange and interact.”

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The expectation – as old as the club itself – is to be involved in those interactions and the community.

Baynton is among the artists that will filter in and out of the annual club show and sale. More than 40 members’ framed paintings in various sizes in oil, acrylic and watercolour will be featured with more than 125 paintings on display and for sale. The show includes demonstrations by artists, personal sketch books to view and door prizes.

“This art show is an example of how the visual arts can really add to the quality of life, enriching our day-to-day experience. I am so pleased to see that it continues to thrive and be so popular,” Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch said.

The Victoria Sketch Club show opens March 21 at 4 p.m. at the Glenlyon-Norfolk Junior School gym at 1701 Beach Dr. The show runs Tuesday from 1 to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Oak Bay artist Myra Baynton is among the Victoria Sketch Club members with works on display during the annual show and sale that opens at Glenlyon Norfolks School on Beach Drive March 18. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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