Sunshine Coast Art Crawl

Inspiration. For me, that is what this weekend was all about. This was the 4th annual Sunshine Coast Art Crawl. 122 studios and galleries representing over 300 artists who opened their studios (and many their homes) for everyone to come and see. The crawl stretches the entire Sunshine Coast, literally from Langdale to Lund. It involves every kind of visual artistry you can think of…painters, sculptors, potters, weavers, glass blowers, blacksmiths, photographers, carvers, woodworkers, fibre artists, and even a chocolatier.  It is an amazing group of talent…many artists who are quite famous and some who are just getting started and building confidence. They all open their doors for one weekend and invite us to experience a bit of their work.

I really don’t know anything about art. No education…no artistic talent myself….but I know when I see something that amazes me…makes me feel inspired. That is what I take most from this weekend.

Marleen Vermeulen's studio in and of the forest

Marleen Vermeulen’s studio in and of the forest

Who inspired me most?  Let’s start with Marleen & Marlene…my incredibly talented friends and neighbors. Marleen Vermeulen captures the beauty of our west coast surroundings in her life-size oil paintings. She is at home hiking in the forest and you can just reach out and touch the trees, the beach and the water in her paintings. They are thick with texture…a trowel is her tool as much as paintbrush…and fully capture changing light. Marlene Lowden paints abstracts full of life and love and blends her yogi spirit into her art. Everything is in balance. Everything is at peace. Quotes of inspiration line the walls alongside the paintings.

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I was completely taken aback by the Watercolour Journey of Hiroshi Shimizaki. He has literally traveled the world and has been capturing it in watercolours along the way. He is a geographer (a man after my own heart) and with his paintings, he took us on a world tour through his home and gallery. Every room a different continent. Famous places and unknown places…all captured beautifully in simple yet elaborate watercolours. I was reminded how important it is to see the world and experience many different cultures. We only understand and appreciate fully when we travel and experience first hand the simple aspects of sharing a meal and talking with people.


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George Pratt is an exceptionally talented sculptor who clearly loves animals and nature. Amazing works of granite and marble and I’m sure many other types of rock alongside wood and paintings. Life-size works like these lined the driveway and many more small pieces were found inside his studio. He invites you to touch and feel the art…many smooth as silk spinning on glass, others rough and textured with their own stories.

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Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden

Coopers Green in Halfmoon Bay

Coopers Green in Halfmoon Bay



The other thing I love about Art Crawl weekend is that you have to get out and explore. This isn’t walking down a city street to visit neighboring galleries. These artists have made their homes in the rural communities of the Sunshine Coast and most of their studios are a part of their homes. To Crawl the Coast is to walk along the waterfront…to climb steep hills…to drive down single lane gravel roads into the forest. You think you’ve gone to the end of the road…and then it turns and just keeps going. You visit neighborhoods that you didn’t know existed. You get the chance to see natural beauty that you don’t take time for on a regular day.

I can’t wait for next year! October 2014  Have a look at these Art Crawl videos to take a bit of inspiration for yourself.

Mt. Elphinstone – September 27, 2011

Fall has arrived on the Sunshine Coast. Yesterday we had our first major storm which left me and my neighbours without electricity for many hours while hydro crews collected tree branches from the power lines. Today the sun returned, so I decided to celebrate the afternoon with a hike on Mt. Elphinstone

Is this the coolest looking tree or what? Spiral bark pattern with remnants of the forest fire 80+ years ago. Take a look at the boardwalk at the base of the tree. I’ve really started paying attention to the actual trails. Who builds wooden platforms like this in the middle of the forest? Nature loving, hard working volunteers who have great passion for mountain biking, that’s who. Great work and kudos for sharing it with us hikers.

I was very impressed with the forest today. We’ve had over 2″ of rain the past couple of days, so I was a bit worried the trails would be muddy. Not a bit! There were small branches and pine needles scattered everywhere from the high winds but the trails were in fine shape. The forest floor soaks in moisture like you wouldn’t believe.

Recent rains mean the forest is exceptionally green this time of year. Moss is growing on fallen logs, ferns are sprucing up, and everything has new life with slightly cooler temperatures and plenty of moisture. I need to have someone teach me about the edible mushrooms.

This picture doesn’t really do it justice. You have to get out there and see for yourself. Sunshine was streaming in through the towering branches, birds were singing, and I was the only human in sight. It’s magical to take an hour in the middle of the afternoon to be quiet, get a good cardio workout, and be immersed in the natural environment…less than 5 minutes from my front door.

Princess Louisa Inlet – September 13, 2009

Wow! Where did the summer go? I am very happy to say that Arcturus Retreat B&B has been very busy hosting guests from around the world. So many guests means no time to blog and not much time to hike. Now that autumn has arrived, I hope to get back in the swing of things.

My best adventure of late was while hosting a friend as B&B guest. We got to play tour guide showing off our favourite Sunshine Coast places, and I tagged along for a real treat, Princess Louisa Inlet. Bryce Christie of Sunshine Coast Tours is a wonderful tour guide. He really knows the history and the geography of the area, and is able to share information in an interesting way. Tours sail daily during the summer and less frequently in other months.

I highly recommend this trip to everyone. My pictures can’t begin to do justice to the amazing scenery. The only place I have ever been that approaches the natural beauty is Milford Sound in New Zealand. I would love to see the fjords of Norway someday to compare.

The peaks are just over 8,000 feet and the water is another 1,000 feet deep. The granite rock face is amazing. The sheer mountains go straight down, so boats can navigate incredibly close to shore.

We travelled 2 hours by boat out of Egmont on the Sunshine Coast up through Jervis Inlet and then into Princess Louisa Inlet. It is hard to believe that all this natural beauty is so close to my home. This is one of the many areas of BC coastline that are only accessible by water. Very difficult mountainous terrain keeps people away and leaves nature in all its glory.

Princess Louisa Provincial Park includes Chatterbox Falls and a bit of parkland around it. We were able to take a short hike to the base of the falls and have a picnic lunch. It really was an amazing day.

Soda Pop Falls

Albert Glacier