The magic moments between daylight and dark draw Margaret Case.
The Oak Bay artist routinely finds herself, iPhone in hand, at sunset or sunrise capturing that surreal skylight to translate later onto canvas.
Moments occur while walking the family dog around their Beach Drive home, or simply while she’s out and about.
“I paint from photos. I’m kind of an iPhone painter,” she says with a laugh. Sometimes the images get as far as the iPad and on a rare occasion she’ll actually print out an image, but more often than not technology is her go-to. At times, she applies an app to bump up contrast to recreate the image how she remembers it.
“I can see in my mind’s eye what I saw that day,” Case says. “That sets the stage – then it usually goes sideways … because I’m not a perfectionist.”
She’s learned recently to reflect on the human impact that is in all her work. A big-box store in Langford is recreated among trees and sky reflecting with that magical light. Her work showcases the ironies of human impact.
“A lot of the beautiful landscape we wouldn’t even know was there if we hadn’t knocked down the trees,” she says.
Case studied visual art at the University of Victoria, and works in communications. She studied under Pat Martin Bates, Robert Youds and Doug Morton. But art was pushed aside as family and career took priority.
“There’s not a lot of jobs for painters, so I gave it up for quite a few years,” she says.
She created a series of pencil drawings over about a decade in the 1990s that hang in the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame at Western Speedway in Langford. Then, in the past three years, as her kids got older, she’s created time to dive back into her acrylics.
Now she invites guests on the free Oak Bay Artists Studio Tour to enjoy her work and her home. She did two last year, which were only slightly complicated by the fact she didn’t consult the family.
“It’s a bit of a challenge,” she admits. Her daughter does the baking for the day and often hangs around for the few hours of the event. “But my son and husband kind of melt away.”
They reappear after 4:30 p.m. when the tour ends.
While she’s cleared a small space for herself to paint in the family basement, surrounded by storage, sports equipment and a weight bench, the upstairs of her Beach Drive home transforms into a gallery for the event.
Case prepares and hangs originals and creates copies and cards to provide a range of affordability.
“There are lots of options to share images in some way,” she says.
In the previous tours she earned validation as an artist, both with positive feedback and sales. But the real coup is the connections made and community created. Case now knows her neighbours, and runs into her fan base in the community.
“It’s so good for our community to have these free opportunities to go and see something different. We as a community need those social experiences,” she says. “It knits us together as our own tribe. It’s a gathering opportunity.”
The Oak Bay Artist Studio Tour is Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. each day. The free, self-guided tour includes up to 30 local artists showing paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography and more.
Visit margaretcase.ca for a taste of her artwork. Visit oakbayartists.com for a tour map.