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.

Sunshine Coast Art Crawl – October 23, 2011

What a fantastic weekend! Too much to take in, but so much fun and perfect fall weather. Three all encompassing days of the 2nd Annual Sunshine Coast Art Crawl. 108 studios and galleries participating representing over 175 artists literally from Langdale to Lund.

Now I really don’t know anything about art. But I do know when I think something is beautiful…amazing….and sometimes a little weird. I know when something speaks to me and I know when I wish I could have something to look at every day.

The best thing about the art crawl is getting to see where artists work…where they draw their inspiration and learn just a little bit about their process. It is also about all different kinds of art: paintings, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, metalworks, furniture design, carving, glass blowing, leather, perfume…you name it…it was here. What is really amazing is the high level of quality in some of these artists I am lucky enough to call neighbors.

This is Tien showing off his silver jewelry creations and his perfumes and lotions.

Friday night we mixed in a bit of live music at the Gumboot Cafe…one of my favourite jazz groups: Mimosa. Three amazing women who write much of their own music and perform in at least 3 languages. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear these talented ladies perform. Lively music makes you want to get up and dance.

OK, back to the crawl… I managed to take in 23 studios this weekend and came home with a small painting that looks like it could have been inspired by the beach just down from our house.

23 studios may seem like scratching the surface with 108 studios participating. However, it isn’t about quantity….its about enjoying art and listening to the artist talk about what it means to him/her. It is about talking to other crawlers and hearing their stories of the day. I went to a similar number last year. This year I was able to see many new artists and return to a few of my favourites. There will be plenty more to enjoy in 2012. Mark your calendars now for an October weekend visit to the Sunshine Coast.

Besides, it was a beautiful weekend. I started my crawl today in Davis Bay where there was a cluster of studios. I parked the car and got a nice walk in between visiting 7 studios. On the walk back to the car, I got this lovely view of the ocean. A perfect day for a little family time playing on the beach…and some feathered family feeding time as the tide started to inch its way back out.

Nope…not a bad way to spend a weekend.