Pat Hindmarch-Watson’s paintings come from faces she has seen in rock walls and stones all over the world. She will be opening her studio doors as a

Tour highlights variety of Oak Bay art styles

Dozens of artists welcome visitors into their studios this weekend

Oak Bay artist Pat Hindmarch-Watson admits it is difficult to go for a walk with her.

The inspiration and subject of her art comes from faces she sees in rocks, which she photographs and then incorporates into the paintings she creates in her home-based studio on Brighton Avenue.

“I’m slow, yes,” she said, laughing. “My husband always finds a bench further up where he has to wait for me. … If I’ve got my camera, whether it’s in the city or on trails or whatever, I’m always (slow).”

Hindmarch-Watson is one of 22 artists opening their doors to the public for the 14th year of the Oak Bay Studio Arts Tour, taking place this weekend.

Together the participants represent work in a variety of mediums and styles.

Full of bold colours and striking images, Hindmarch-Watson’s faces are painted into somewhat ethereal landscapes.

Some of the faces seem content, at one with their natural surroundings, others pensive, some smug. One image seems to reveal two faces, which Hindmarch-Watson interpreted as lovers, in a piece titled “Kiss Under a Stone Umbrella.”

“The faces would jump at me,” Hindmarch-Watson said. “Sometimes people can’t see them right away, but when they do, that’s it, you’re going to go out there and you’re going to see rock faces.”

The faces come from the artist’s wandering around the world, finding them protruding from the unlikeliest of places. Some are from local beaches and outcrops, others from Australia and other international locations. Some of her recent works come from the rock wall of an Irish prison.

Hindmarch-Watson said the tour is a great way to highlight the wide array of art being produced in Oak Bay, of all levels and mediums.

“I don’t necessarily sell a lot during the tour, but I meet people and it’s really nice. … There’s a lot of artists that have come to art at all ages and stages in their lives.”

Organizers say, if the weather co-operates, some artists can see upwards of 200 people come through their doors over the weekend.

Throughout its 14-year run, the tour has been gaining in popularity and reach, said Mary Kucera, with Oak Bay Recreation marketing.

“It was originally started with the idea that the community could come and see what their neighbours are doing. And now it’s drawing from all over Victoria,” Kucera said. “There’s been many different artists, throughout the years. Some are constant, some are almost always in. … There’s a crazy amount of artists.”

The self-guided tour, which is free, runs on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 from noon to 4:30 p.m. each day. Participants can pick up a tour map from Oak Bay recreation centres, municipal Hhall, the Oak Bay library or at a variety of businesses. A map is also included in this issue of the News, or can be found online at recreation.oakbay.ca.