Sunshine Coast artist Jan Poynter sets up her easel and paint box  on the verandah at the Mackie Lake House. Poynter is in the area for the month of May as the Mackie Lake House Foundation’s artist in residence.

Sunshine Coast artist Jan Poynter sets up her easel and paint box on the verandah at the Mackie Lake House. Poynter is in the area for the month of May as the Mackie Lake House Foundation’s artist in residence.

Artist shares Longview from local vantage point

Jan Poynter is at the Mackie Lake House as the latest artist to take up residence at the heritage home in Coldstream.

The air gives off the distinct smell of lilac as Jan Poynter takes in her surroundings from the verandah at the Mackie Lake House.

Quails can be seen darting from shrub to bush in the distance while visitors gather on the enclosed deck to indulge on baked scones, fresh strawberries and clotted cream served with freshly brewed tea in china cups.

Hosted in a true Mackie fashion, the tea is being served in honour of the seventh artist to arrive at the Coldstream heritage home.

Poynter is here as part of the Mackie Lake House Foundation’s annual artist-in-residence program, and she is keen to meet with members of the public, but is also itching to get back outside to paint.

Just that morning she hosted a “paint-out” with eight artists in the Mackie gardens.

“I love working en plein air. I’ve been working on location since I was a kid – sketching and drawing – and have been painting seriously since I was 18,” says Poynter, as she shows one young visitor a small box in which she keeps her paints for when she is out in the field.

“My (plein air) work used to be separate from my studio work. Now they’re coming together – that mark making and that looser experience from plein air is coming into my studio.”

Working in a variety of genres, which include landscapes, images of urban environments, flora, and figurative painting in addition to her drawings and illustration, Poynter tries to connect with other artists who also paint in the moment outdoors. The process is usually an organic one, she says, in that the artists usually just state the area where they will be painting and then they go from there.

“When I show up with my hat and funny paint box, they know who I am,” says Poynter. “When we meet up, we don’t attach to each other – we enjoy the location and the isolation together and then we connect.”

Now residing in Gibson’s Landing, Poynter has been all over the place to paint, and is often joined by her husband Brian, who is accompanying her at her residency at the Mackie House.

They have lived in Invermere and also spent 10 years in Brisbane, Australia, later settling on the Sunshine Coast.

“I haven’t been in the Okanagan/Vernon area for 35 years,” said Poynter. “Vernon feels new to me although at the Mackie House it feels as if we’ve stepped back in time.”

A fan of old spaces, Poynter and her husband constructed their home on the Sunshine Coast from salvaged material from a house built at the same time as the Mackie House.

“When I look out the window, I think of what the people before me saw out of them,” she said.

As part of her residency, Poynter will show some of the work she is creating at the Vernon Public Art Gallery in an exhibition titled The Longview  – a format, an aspect, a way of thinking, which examines nature from a different viewpoint.

“I have been looking at the character and geology of the landscape and the flora. I am trying to feature them in another kind of way,” she said. “I am playing with depth of field, looking through the trees, fine tuning the landscape and then laying in the finished work over top.”

The works come in various formats from large canvasses to small original gouache paintings that are mounted and sealed on a six-by-six inch blocks.

The work reflects a number of ecosystems that Poynter has experienced in her travels around B.C.

“I love going across B.C., going through the rainforest and seeing the moss of the coast then getting through the Coastal mountains to the pines, grass and openness of the Interior,” she said. “I love the character and uniqueness of trees. In winter, I love to see the bones of the trees and I always build my trees up from their structure and then leaf them out.”

Poynter is showing her exhibition at the Vernon Public Art Gallery along with the UBCO BFA Graduation Exhibition: Shelf Life and  late Vernon artist Andrea Toth’s posthumous exhibition, Heaven’s Above. A reception takes place Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Poynter will also give an artist talk at the VPAG May 30 at ••noon •• please note correct time

She is at the Mackie Lake House until May 31 and returns to Vernon June 27 to 28 to give a workshop at the Vernon Community Arts Centre (register at the VCAC).

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