KENSINGTON – There’s something about painting in the presence of others that Carol MacKinnon finds attractive.
It could be the conversation.
Or the inspiration.
Maybe the positive reinforcement?
Or maybe it’s just more fun than painting alone.
“I’m kind of an impressionistic type of painter,” she reflected recently.
“So I like being out with people. With me it actually invigorates me.
“I like being around people, so it makes it easy,” she said.
As she spoke, MacKinnon was standing in front of a pitch-black canvas and tracing white outlines for her next creation.
She was in the Kensington Artists Co-op art gallery, which is part of the old train station complex on Broadway Street North – and she was not alone.
The weather this day was decidedly not beach-worthy, so there were a lot of visitors coming and going from the gallery.
As the visitors browsed, they would stop and chat with MacKinnon and Bob Furlotte, another gallery member who was also there painting.
That’s exactly the kind of scene the co-op likes to see, said Donna Sutton, treasurer and past president of the co-op.
The group has been around for the past 10 years, but last year they started something they called Art in Action.
It’s an informal program in the sense that there is no real funding behind it and it’s very casual.
But the idea is that any artists, who’d like to come and use the gallery as an ad hoc studio, may do so.
“We try and encourage people to come in – stay a while and visit. If you’re an artist you’re welcome to come in and join whoever is working here. You can sit and paint with us,” said Sutton.
“We just try and form a sense of community,” she added.
“Every time you sit and paint with someone, you learn something from them.”
The co-op is run by a group of volunteers who take turns manning the gallery, and most of them bring something to work on while it’s their turn. So visitors can usually find an artist working in one corner of the building or another.
The gallery is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. every day from June 15 to Sept. 15, and the public is welcome to come and set up an easel beside whichever artist is on duty, or just pull up a chair and have a chat.
Art in Action didn’t get many takers last year, but with a bit of publicity the hope is that more artists will take advantage of the opportunity, said Lise Jenova, president of the co-op.
Any excuse to create art, she laughed.
“Art brings beauty,” said Jenova.
“It brings a different interpretation of the world to the people. Everybody sees things differently. When five different people look at a tree they will interpret it five different ways,” she said.
In other news
While the public is visiting the Kensington Art Gallery over the next year they might be lucky enough to catch glimpses of some of the other work the Artists Co-op is working on.
The group has received $5,000 in funding from the P.E.I. 2014 celebration committee to create several legacy murals for the community.
There are two separate projects. One of which is “Paint the Shed” and it involves eight artists who will paint one mural each for the outside walls of the gallery.
They will involve various scenes from the town’s history, as well as the major industries of farming and fishing.
The other project is “Artists on the Boardwalk” and will allow various artists to set up at next year’s Canada Day celebrations and create another mural that will be donated to the town.
Anyone who’d like to suggest a scene or theme for one of the murals can do so by contacting Jenova at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Journal Pioneer