Artist EiraShay Barker-Hart takes on the setting at Bowker Creek with one of her latest pen-on-paper pieces. She’ll return to the waterway for the Bowker Creek Brush Up on Aug. 11. Organizers are welcoming Barker-Hart and other youth artists for the annual event.

Artist EiraShay Barker-Hart takes on the setting at Bowker Creek with one of her latest pen-on-paper pieces. She’ll return to the waterway for the Bowker Creek Brush Up on Aug. 11. Organizers are welcoming Barker-Hart and other youth artists for the annual event.

Youth artists join Brush Up crew

Sixteen-year-old Oak Bay resident brings variety of styles, mediums to annual creekside art show

On a hot spring afternoon, sunshine reflects off a framed drawing in EiraShay Barker-Hart’s grasp.

The 16-year-old smiles as she explains each element of the politically-charged piece, inspired by the proposed Enbridge pipeline.

“Back here we have the machine that’s building corporate lines,” she said. “Then the Earth, here, is crying and back here we have a jellyfish, which is a sign of polluted water. I’m trying to mirror the pain that the Earth feels and the anger and frustration that a lot of people are feeling.”

Barker-Hart is one of a handful of youth artists set to return to the Bowker Creek Brush Up for the second year this August – a fact that couldn’t make organizer Joanie McCorry happier.

“I wish she was my daughter,” said McCorry, who got to know Barker-Hart through the Creatively United For the Planet fashion show, while the Vic High student was building dresses of flower petals. “Last year, EiraShay just sat on the grass and just kept painting. She didn’t need a chair or table or anything.”

Oak Bay resident Barker-Hart admitted being a little unprepared for her debut at the Brush Up, but found it to be a huge learning experience. The positive side of putting her work out there – including marketing herself as an artist – outweighed the sting of not making any sales during her first Brush Up.

“It makes you so vulnerable,” she said. “It’s your work. It’s so much of you.”

The Grade 11 student grew up on Cortes Island and attended Linnaea, the Island’s alternative school, until Grade 8, an experience which exposed her to an eclectic community of artisans.

“I like how she hasn’t become a big-city girl,” said McCorry, a photographer and creator of three-dimensional paper casting cards. “She just continues to follow her heart and her passion and her love.”

Whether she’s making a Mexican-inspired self-portrait in oil soluble water colours, snapping photos on a Pentax K-1000, or constructing clothing from flower  petals, Barker-Hart is open to just about anything artistically.

“I don’t know what my medium is yet, so I figured I’d try everything until I find the medium that fits. I change my mind all of the time.”

Though her approach may come off as fickle, her intentions behind the work are anything but.

“I like having an intention and a point to it, as opposed to something that’s just nice to look at. In the past I was just painting things that were fun to paint and I wasn’t comfortable pushing social barriers. I was terrified to do nudes for years, just because of what people might think considering how young I am.”

With the 50 artists at the Brush Up at different stages in their artistry, McCorry feels age is irrelevant.

“I think her art is so good that it doesn’t matter,” McCorry said. “These young artists are fearless. They don’t think, ‘I’ve only been doing this for five years.’ They’re artists, and for them, that’s what it’s all about.”

The Oak Bay Community Artists Society, a group of some 40 amateur and professional artists, launched the Bowker Creek Brush Up in 2005. It has since become an annual draw for several thousand people interested in taking a peek inside the artistic process, purchasing a new piece of work straight from the source or contributing a stroke to a community painting. This year’s Brush Up guest artists are Pat Martin-Bates, Martin Machacek, Marion Evamy and new Oak Bay resident, Robert Amos.

Youth artists – including high school students and young adults – are invited to join Barker-Hart from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Aug. 11 along Bowker Creek, between Oak Bay High and Hampshire Road. Contact McCorry at 250-294-1944 or jmccorry@shaw.ca to register.

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read