As a season, autumn is an explosion of colour.And one place where this is evident is Eptek Centre in Summerside where a fall show by members of the Summerside Art Club is underway.
Fourteen artists have produced colourful works for Autumnfest, an exhibition running until Jan 4.
“We have vibrant oranges, dazzling reds and shimmering golds .... The pieces are all so beautiful,” says organizer Jay McNair, pointing to the paintings on the walls of the gallery.
On P.E.I., it’s only natural to celebrate the fall, she says. “Even the very (rust) colour of the soil lends itself to the season.”
In total, the artists have created 45 works in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolour and pencil.
“I wasn’t surprised at the number of paintings we received. That’s because fall is a great time to celebrate. It’s the conclusion of spring and summer and the last hurrah before winter,” says MacNair.
These colours are clearly seen in an oil painting titled New London Wharf, created by Doreen Huestis. It shows three fishing boats resting peacefully on the water. In the background, a row of trees shifts in hue from red to orange.
“I’ve driven past this scene many times. It’s on the way to our cottage. In the summer, things are green, but in the fall, everything takes on a different hue,” she says.
“For example, the water is gray,” says Huestis, who was drawn to the scene by the reflection of the colourful boats on the dark water.
“I did my research, I had to go back several times to get it right,” she says.
Storm at Green Shore by Gerard Dalton depicts fall as a less tranquil time.The watercolour painting, which re-creates a scene from the 1950s, shows water gushing over the seawall onto Water Street in Summerside, splashing the oncoming traffic.
“Each November there would be a couple of bad storms and the waves would rise above the abutment and cover the houses. For us, this provided entertainment, the thrill of driving blindly through the spray, not knowing who was coming the other way,” he says. Dalton was inspired to do the painting because of its historical significance.
“Today, the area is completely different in appearance. It’s now the site of the boardwalk,” he says.
While these artists have created representational works, Lise Genova has chosen to colour outside the lines.
“I wanted to feel the Island and interpret it differently than other artists. I wanted to feel the life, the wind, the land, the people,” says the Blueshank Road artist, pointing to her abstract, which is titled The Villagers.The vibrant red acrylic painting with splashes of yellow and blue depicts people going to church on Sunday.
“I wanted to make something personal, giving some of the colours of the land and the feeling of the land and the houses.
“By using red, there’s the expression of autumn,” says Genova.
“When I apply the colours, I have the feeling of the painting, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m always surprised what turns up. (In the creative process), I find all these images through the painting, so I bring them up and make a story out of them,” says Genova, pointing to parents and children with hats with houses in the background.
To keep the show interesting, some artists have chosen subjects outside of the fall theme.For example, McNair has painted Promise of Spring.
She was inspired to do the oil painting after looking out her kitchen patio window into her backyard at the end of a long winter.
“I have watched two birch trees struggle along, in competition with some huge old pine trees. Somehow the birches persevere. And the changes of the seasons are reflected so beautifully in their branches.
“The pink of their buds in the spring is one of the first colours we notice. Next, the bright green (in summer) and finally it’s the glorious golden yellow just before winter,” she says.Paula Kenny, site director of Eptek Centre, is excited about the splashes of colour and the creativity she sees on the gallery walls.
“Autumnfest conveys a sense of celebration of the season. Of course, we all love to see the wonderful colours of autumn foliage,” she says.
Besides being a celebration, it’s a homecoming.
“Eptek Centre and the Summerside Art Club have partnered for many years to bring visual art to the community. Many of these artists have exhibited here for literally decades, and we are always happy to welcome these old friends back to our facility, along with their new members who will soon be old friends, too,” she says.
AT A GLANCE
Autumnfest fast facts
Who: Summerside Art Club members, including Adele Cairns, Marlene Cameron, Irma Curley, Gerard Dalton, June Ellis, Lori Ellis, Arno Freitag, Lise Genova, Alice E. Guergis, Doreen Huestis, Joan MacGillivray, Ellen Martin, Jay McNair and Joan Savage.
Where: Eptek Centre, Summerside.
When: The show runs until Jan. 4. The centre is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. It is closed Saturdays and Mondays.