All Art Show in Sooke

By Vernice Shostal

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Merging the written word with visual images, Sooke's first All Art Show, a three-day interactive photography, art and literary fair, set for July 10 - 12, is open to emerging artists and authors intimidated by the jury process, as well as professional artists and authors in the commercial category. Artists already committed include writers, graphic novelists, comic book authors, photographers who produce photo books and travel guides, fashion magazines and multimedia artists. Meet Canadian artist and author, Sue Coleman, whose Interpretive Northwest Coast Indian Images have been reproduced and sold to collectors worldwide. Sue will unveil her new watercolour, *Raven's Reign*, and offer her reproductions at an introductory price.  

Growing up in Vancouver, Sooke artist Linda Gordon moved to the Island in 1979 to be near her ailing mother while she studied physics and math as a grad student at UVic. Most recently recognized for her acrylic renditions of *Drummer Boy* and *Veteran*, Linda will offer her originals and reproductions at the show.

A mother and homemaker most of her life, Linda returned to painting after a 30-year hiatus. Revealing her inhibitions about entering a juried Sooke Fine Art Show several years ago, Linda says, "I took my art work to the arena, took it out of the trunk and then said to myself, 'It's not good enough; it will not get accepted.' I put it back and drove home, fearful of rejection. When the art show was cancelled, I thought I had lost an opportunity to be in the show, but when it started up again, I decided to enter anyway, thinking of my jury fee as a donation. When I picked up my work and found that two pieces has been accepted, I was floored. I often think how different my life would have been if I had had the courage and confidence to try earlier."  

Also a photographer, Linda began taking pictures when she was six. She followed that up with photography classes in her youth and first year of college. "Now I do digital," says the artist who still has the Pentax that originally motivated her.

Marcie Gauntlett's photographic career debuted at the age of 10 with a Brownie Hawkeye. Later, at Groton School in Massachusetts, she took courses that taught her how to develop her own photographs. In the '70s, she continued her passion for camera work with several local courses and began publishing articles and photos on personalities, food and events in north-central Massachusetts.

In the '80s, Marcie travelled to Saudi Arabia to work with a hospital company from Nashville, where she continued her photography and, while in Riyadh, spent two years writing a weekly food column for the English language newspaper, *The Arab News*. That period was followed by five years in Ocala, Florida, where she wrote a weekly seniors' column entitled "Marcie" in the *Ocala Star Banner* and published articles and photos from travels around Florida.

Marcie spent the '90s with the U.S. Foreign Service and, off duty, published travel articles with photos from Brussels, Moscow and Bonn, Germany.  

In 2000, Marcie and her husband, Jan, settled in Shirley, B.C., where they now live. Her recent travel writing has appeared in the *Times Colonist*, *Edmonton Journal* and *Travel Tips Magazine*. 

In London, England, shutterbug Fred Whittaker purchased his first camera from a friend when he was 18. With the help of his next purchase, a black-and-white enlarger, he and his friend developed pictures, enlarged them and entered them into exhibitions and competitions, where they received several awards. After three years of instruction in photography at a London photo college, Fred passed his exams and could have gone into professional photography, but opted to remain an amateur and work with computers instead. 

In 1970, when computer firms in England began to suffer takeovers, Fred left London and came to Canada. His first job with Sam the Record Man in Toronto was followed by two weeks in a camera store before he joined the Ontario government as a work analyst with the Ministry of Community and Social Services in Queen's Park. Eight and a half years later, Fred bought a printing franchise that he kept for 20 years.

After retirement, Fred and his wife, Carole, decided to move to the west coast and, following an extensive housing search, found a natural place in Sooke surrounded by trees and deer.

Although he did commercial wedding photography in London, in Sooke, Fred prefers to shoot natural life. "We have taken thousands of pictures of deer around here and lots around Sooke and Vancouver Island and our travels around the world," he says from his home where every wall showcases his work.  

In addition to photography, Fred constructs chairs and walking sticks from beach combing on Whiffen Spit. "The shape and size of the wood suggests the final usage," he says. "I usually do a chair when I find a good piece of cedar for the base. Once I have that made, I can find the legs and back very easily."

Published writer and founder of the Scribblers Group in Sooke, Shirley Skidmore is offering a substantial publishing package as a prize in a Writing Contest at the Show. Born in Winnipeg, Shirley attended high school in P.E.I., CEGEP (College) in Montreal and received her B.Ed. from McGill. Among her many careers, Shirley has modelled, worked as an airline stewardess, taught in private and public schools and held several top management jobs. Thirty years ago, she moved from Montreal to Victoria and later to Sooke, where she indulged in her love of animals, gardening, writing and volunteering. In addition to contributing to several anthologies, her published books, *The Coffin Ship Legacy*, *Murder in the Sooke Potholes* and *Murder on the Galloping Goose* are available in some Sooke stores and may be ordered from any bookstore in Victoria or online from Windshift Press.   

The three-day All Art Show will offer food, poetry, book reading and music including members of the Sooke Philharmonic and 25-year-old singer/songwriter, Riley Smith with performances of his original songs, one of which is a tribute to his uncle, who died in a logging accident 25 years ago. 

The downstairs stage will also feature professional talks on topics such as "How to self-publish and promote your writing," "How to get your art ready for reprinting in the giclée (ink jet productions) method" and "How to get the most from a digital camera and use a photo editing program to enhance photos."

The show at the Sooke Legion is open to all authors and "wall hanging" artists to promote and sell their work. No commission is taken. The only payment required is a hanging ($35) or table ($50 per four feet) fee. Submission deadline is June 26 by e-mail or July 5 in person. No admission for purchasers to come and buy; however, donations toward a much-needed elevator in the legion are appreciated.

For more information about the Sooke All Art Show, visit, e-mail: or call 1-877-642-6745.


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