With an estimated 3,500 people showing up to the Bowker Creek Brush Up, it makes it challenging for the working artists to find a groove.
But that’s OK. Because the point of the Brush Up is to get your art out of your studio and into nature, where you can share it with others.
“And we talk about it,” says Brush Up artist Claire Christinel, who specializes in watercolours and acrylics and who teaches painting at Monterey Recreation Centre. “I love the public interaction, talking to people and just having a really nice day. My goal is never to complete a work while I’m here. It’s to demonstrate.”
The Brush Up is part of Oak Bay’s Arts and Culture Days, which makes for a plentiful August arts calendar. Arts and Culture Days officially start on Thursday, Aug. 8, with the free kick-off concert and cake at Willows Beach Park starting at 5:30 p.m.
The Bowker Creek Brush Up takes place Sunday, Aug. 11 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Brush Up visitors ask Christenel about everything. Brushes, paint, canvas, and even the weather.
The Bowker Creek Brush Up remains committed to showcasing Oak Bay artists with 23 from Oak Bay and 14 more from around the region. Pat Martin-Bates returns as a guest artist with Sandhu Singh. There are also a few youth artists.
“It’s a good way to get people out of their studios,” said Flo-Elle Watson, who paints and fires porcelain. “Sometimes artists are shy about their work. Once you’ve done it, you love it, because you get that connection with the public about your art.
“We don’t jury this show, you’re your own jury.”
The Brush Up will also offer a barbecue. It is the only event of the year by the organizing group, Oak Bay Community Artists Society, of which Christenel and Watson are members with Paul Redchurch.
“I actually have no training,” said Redchurch, who focuses in watercolours and acrylics. “I was self-taught. I bought some brushes and started painting, and one day someone said, bring your works into the gallery.”
From there, Redchurch grew into the community and has now been volunteering with the Brush Up for 14 years.
“All of our members find a way to volunteer, we each have a role to make the Brush Up happen,” Watson said.