Paint-In: chance for artists to shine

Greater Victoria Art Gallery's annual Moss Street event attracts more than 30,000 spectators

Landscape painter Jeffrey Boron works on a large canvas in his studio

Landscape painter Jeffrey Boron works on a large canvas in his studio

Nature landscape painter Jeffrey Boron remembers his first experience with the TD Art Gallery Moss Street Paint-In.

“It’s like being put into a carnival of light and colour,” he said. “It gives an artist a feeling (that) ‘yes, it does matter what I’m doing. Look at all these people who have come out to see my work.’”

For Boron, who will participate in his sixth Paint-In this Saturday (July 16), the creative process began at age six. He remembers sitting at the dining room table painting tree after tree until his family asked, ‘Why don’t you paint something else?’

“I guess where I grew up, trees were a significant part of the landscape,” said Boron of the towering elm trees in Southern Ontario.

Each year he strives to complete 100 paintings. As an avid outdoor and marine enthusiast, he never has a shortage of subjects.

“I paint generally very heavy – Impressionistic, you may say. I describe my work as Canadian West Coast Impressionism.

“Primarily I’m looking for light. If I’m walking along and I see something that hits me with light, or contrast between dark and light and colour, I always have my camera with me to take photo references. If I am painting outside I know when the camas lilies should be blooming, so I might go to Uplands Park to paint them.”

Although he’s used watercolours and acrylics before, these days he’s sticks with oils, due to their vibrancy and texture and the feel of the medium in his strokes.

Each year the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria receives hundreds of submissions from artists who want to be part of the Paint-In. Last year more than 35,000 visitors wandered up and down Moss Street between Dallas Road and Fort Street, mingling with artists and viewing their paintings, sculptures, pottery and carvings and taking in mini-workshops and performances.

Getting accepted is a competitive process. There are 150 artists allowed each year, 25 per cent of whom are new or emerging artists selected by a jury.

“I am astonished every year that we have been able to keep that practice up,” said event co-ordinator Mary-Ellen Threadkell.

“As you can imagine, there are always disappointed artists who don’t make it in, but there are many stories of success following multiple applications. The gallery and the artists want the Paint-In to represent the best of the year’s applicants.”

Paper machier sculpture artist Jen Wright is excitedly gearing up for her first year at Paint-In, where she’ll display her sculptures and paintings.

She crafts a range of pieces reflecting peace, such as a dog stretching or a sleeping horse.

“I am thrilled to be included in the Moss Street Paint-In. I’m busy getting organized. It’s hard to decide what to bring. I’m worried that I’ll leave some crucial tool behind and have trouble demonstrating,” she said.

“I’m hoping to have fun and get a chance to share my work.”

Paint-In details

• The TD Art Gallery Moss Street Paint-In happens Saturday (July 16) from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Part of its green strategy will see no bottled water for sale. Patrons are asked to bring bottles and use fill-up stations or buy a foldable bottle for a $10 donation to the Art Gallery’s education programs.

• A gallery open house runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a food and beverage garden will be open in the gallery parking lot, 1040 Moss St., from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Latin band Kumbia will perform from 5 to 9 p.m.

• For more information, visit

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