‘Push your wrinkles up’ one of the members of Artists at Work jokes as nine of the 16 members of the group ready themselves for a photo. Eleven years since the group begun to meet weekly, they will hold their seventh annual art show and sale in Sunshine Valley July 14 and 15. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Local artists showcase work seventh year running

With all the camraderie and fun being had, Artists at Work also find time to work on their craft

It’s not all easles, paint and serious discussions about oils versus watercolours at Artists at Work gatherings — the artists have fun as they create, laugh and exchange witty banter.

“Until we die off, I think we’ll be here forever,” founder Sharon Blythe said when asked how the group has stayed active for 11 years.

“We have no intention of dying off,” a member of the group retorted from across the room.

“No we don’t. But we’re not a young group, our age group is not young,” Blythe answers.

“Speak for yourself,” another group member piped up. Laughter resounded around the hall at Grace Baptist Church where the group meets.

Artists at Work was formed in 2007 as a space where any kind of artist could come and do their work while surrounded by others doing theirs. The group is having their seventh annual exhibit and sale in Sunshine Valley this weekend and there will be a variety of work on display.

Mostly painters migrated to the group when it formed. Blythe said about 99 per cent are painters working in all different mediums — watercolour, acrylic, oils, pencils — as well as a few artists who work with cards and paper.

The 16 members, who range in age from 63 to 83 years old, get together weekly at the Grace Baptist Church to work on their craft, give each other gentle critiquing if requested and spend time together. They come from Hope, Agassiz, Sunshine Valley and North Bend to the drop in sessions where free coffee is always flowing.

The membership fees are $10 per year and $3 per drop in. The money collected goes to art field trips as well as bringing artists to Hope. Blythe said there is plenty of space for more artists to join the group when it resumes in September.

“It is educational in a lot of ways — political, religious, painting. It runs the gamut. It’s always entertaining,” said group member Jackie Coughlin.

“I think it’s camraderie we’ve got,” Esther Davies said, to which the group replied with enthusiastic assent. “I’ve got a room where I can paint all I want but I like to come.”

Artists at Work’s seventh annual show will take place Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sunshine Valley’s great hall. Live music by Pasquale Pascucci will be featured Saturday from 2 p.m.

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