Gary Whitley

Gary Whitley

Garden grows with new art and artists

Smell the flowers and view the art at Sunday’s Art in the Garden show and sale in Vernon

The black-eyed Susans lift their sunny heads skyward as the group gathers in the garden.

Dotted in pinks, yellows and purples – and that’s not just the flowers – the artists tote some of the work they will display for the annual Art in the Garden show and sale.

The pieces come as colourful as the surroundings at Mike Jell’s outdoor abode in Vernon.

Included in the vista is a small floral of yellow and purple pansies painted by Cherryville artist Gary Whitley, and on the other end is a stark metal and glass piece forged in the Commonage studio of blacksmith artist Doug Alcock.

The colour and subject matter spans the gamut with more painted works by Vernon artists Jell, Wendy Hart Penner, Kara Barkved, watercolourist Juve Furtado, as well as Revelstoke raku artist David Walker.

“This is our sixth year of holding the show. When we started we decided to give it five years and see how it goes,” said Jell, adding, “It’s gone well over those years.”

Art in the Garden was previously held in conjunction with the Caetani Cultural Centre’s art and garden trail as well as the People Place garden tour. Last year saw approximately 250 visitors – most from the local vicinity but some from as far away as Christina Lake and Penticton – attend the show.

“People can walk around and see different things happening,” said Jell.

“It’s a relaxed and fresh way of showing art,” added Penner, who participated in Art in the Garden last year.

An illustrator and designer by profession, Penner paints still life, portraits and landscapes, and will be showing all new works this year including more of her popular cupcake series.

New to Art in the Garden is Barkved, who describes her work as abstract.

Due to arthritis in her hands, Barkved has trouble holding a paintbrush so she uses other means to create her paintings – even the wisps of willow branches.

“My muse is the garden. Painting to me is organic. It’s full of lively shapes –  the universe’s molecules in motion,” she said. “I love mark making and playing with the wind.”

A senior artist with the Federation of Canadian Artists, Whitley is showing his florals and some land and seascapes at the show.

He and Jell, an award winning wildlife and landscape artist, are among eight Canadian artists who have been invited to show their work at an international harvest festival in Tianjin, China next year.

Alcock, meanwhile, has been busy working through the heat, thanks to a new mister in his shop, creating more of his metal sculptures, which he says incorporate old traditions and new dimensions.

“I am still working with metal and glass (supplied by Kelowna artist David Montpetit). I am hoping to have a new western series out soon,” he said.

Visitors can meet the artists and see their work Sunday, July 26 at Art in the Garden, located in the gardens at 1701 46th Ave. off Pleasant Valley Road. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.