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Tofino art exhibit ‘Waving at Whales’ brightens dark winter days

Marion Evamy honoured with being TGCA’s inaugural solo exhibit from Dec. 2 - 15
Artist Marion Evamy, centre, with gallerist Leah McDiarmid and CARE Network’s James Rodgers, brightens up doldrum winter days with her solo exhibit ‘Waving at Whales’. (Nora O’Malley photo)

“My work is very joyful,” says Sidney-based artist Marion Evamy during her Dec. 2 artist’s reception for ‘Waving at Whales’ at the Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art.

Wearing a bright floral blouse and pink lipstick for a soiree celebrating her richly coloured creations, it’s easy to see why art critics refer to Evamy’s colour talent as outstanding.

“Certainly, a lot of people recognize me by the colour palette I use because it’s very different. Most Island artists aren’t quite as bright and bold with the colours as I am. But I love to experiment. I love to really try different things and that’s what I think keeps the artwork exciting,” says Evamy.

The ‘Waving at Whales’ series was created during the summer of 2021 from Evamy’s outdoor studio overlooking the Salish Sea. She said this year she experienced more whale visits than ever before.

“I’ve always been really intrigued with whales and I’ve been learning more about them. Like anything, the more you focus on it the more you learn about it, things pop up. There are neat things happening. There are so many more babies now this season. On the east coast they established a whale sanctuary for whales that were in captivity,” she says.

“One of the most interesting things I learned is that humpbacks have these lumps on their fins and scientists have always wondered how they can get their massive weight out of the water and they figured out that those lumps on their pectoral fins are used for propulsion so they are using that technology for wind turbines and other technology. There are some really interesting things in the animal kingdom that help us make a difference,” Evamy went on to say.

‘Waving at Whales’ features 16 paintings. Some are acrylic on canvas, some are mixed media with acrylic, collage and oil. Some paintings show the working process, while others lean towards the more polished ‘end’ result.

“They all look like they’re part of a series, but they’ve all been approached very differently,” says Evamy.

Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art (TGCA) owner Leah McDiarmid says she’s delighted to welcome West Coasters to her first solo exhibit since opening in June 2021.

“We have been collectors of Marion’s art for about 10 years. They are spectacular. She’s a great friend and a great mentor too,” McDiarmid said, adding that Evamy and her husband Bobb, who own Sidney’s Red Art Gallery, were instrumental in helping her launch the TGCA.

“I wasn’t quite sure how to approach a solo exhibit, but several months ago Marion pitched the idea of having a solo exhibit while she was in Tofino with her family from Calgary, and I said, ‘great idea’. It’s been in the works since. We hung the art on Dec. 1 and we sold three pieces in just two days,” she said.

Partial proceeds from the sale on Evamy’s paintings will be donated to support the Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Network.

“I’m a real animal advocate, of course,” Evamy says.

‘Waving at Whales’ runs until Dec. 15 and is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday. The show also features four bear paintings.

RELATED: New gallery promises engaging experience in Tofino

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