Each summer Nanaimo painter Melissa Anderson takes some time to unplug and be in nature, capturing those moments on canvas.
For the next month at White Rabbit Coffee Co., Anderson is displaying a series of paintings made after a stay at a nearby coastal retreat. That exhibit, ‘Seascapes,’ is her first showing in Nanaimo since participating in the 2019 downtown Artwalk, when she had paintings up at Bestsellers Books.
The paintings in Seascapes are based on watercolour sketches Anderson made while staying at Yellow Point Lodge, a collection of log cabins with coastal rainforest on one side and a beachfront view of the Gulf Islands on the other.
“It’s an old-fashioned place where they serve you all your meals and there’s no cell phones or anything allowed but they have a beautiful stretch of a lot of beach,” Anderson said.
During her stay she would bring pens and watercolour paints to the seaside and make rough paintings of the view before her. Some of those pieces were further developed into the oil paintings on display at White Rabbit.
“I did a lot of sketching while I was there on the beach, getting up early and staying up to see the sunsets,” Anderson said. “And so I did watercolour sketches and those sort of grew into oil paintings just in the last few month.”
Anderson describes her style as impressionist, noting that she’s partly inspired by Group of Seven-associated landscape painter Tom Thomson.
“[He] did a lot of these strips of clouds and little bit of the lake and I just found them very simple but still powerful and beautiful,” she said of his work.
Anderson said she’s drawn to the coastal landscape by its colours, lights and the sensation of being there. She said it’s something she doesn’t get to paint often.
“I love being near the ocean and I love the light and I love the colour blue,” she said. “And normally I paint a lot of forest scenes and I’ve been doing a lot of still life and flowers and I just haven’t got a chance to really just work with skies and clouds and water.”
WHAT’S ON … Melissa Anderson presents Seascapes at White Rabbit Coffee Co., 321 Selby St.