Saturday, August 15, 2020

Stir In Some Pleasure: New Series of Art Shows at Saturna Café

 Our times in the midst of the Covid pandemic continue to be challenging, to say the least. To add a little bit of solace, interest, and pleasure for all to enjoy, some of the many talented artists on Saturna Island have organized a series of art shows to adorn the Saturna Café.


As you come to the General Store and Café, watch for a steady stream of engaging new paintings, photos and artwork. Created and curated by Art Saturna members for the community here, a series of different shows will be on the walls for six weeks each. The series of shows promises lots of interesting new vistas for you.

The show that just ended, by Dona Faye Digance, displayed her magical textile-paintings, very Saturna-inspired. Donna’s studio is open on Saturna, like those of most of the participating artists.


The current show (until last week of September) by Janet Strayer is called Fins and Wings and Scaly Things. Aptly enough it takes us through water, land, and air to find the little creatures and growing things that live within them and amidst us. It’s full of eye-openers and some delightful surprises.

The following show (through October), presented by Carole Keene, will display Jack Campbell’s wonderful paintings. After that, we’ll see a variety of artworks that will all add a bit of pleasure to our lives: by local painters and photographers like Karen Muntean, Gaye Oreskovic, Neysa Weins, Nettie Adams, Andrée Fredette, Pamala Page, and Larry Fields (there may be others, too.)

So, when shopping at our General Store, be sure to stop by the Café, a fine spot on its own. Plus, now, with even more reason to lift your spirits, there will be a steady stream of art to enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Spring in Strange Times

photo by JS, Saturna Island 
Even in these unsettled times of the Covid-19  pandemic, signs of spring and art continue on Saturna Island. The requirements of isolation and social distancing seem a bit less harsh here on this island that has always had plenty of room for individuals and different lifestyles. Though the health-related concerns and effects on work, social exchange, travel, and morale affect us all, taking things a day at a time and valuing this day is one approach to a difficult situation.

As a painter, walking to my studio each day and working on art projects continues to be my routine adventure. No one to come see them now, but the work itself is engaging. And I guess the truth that a painter just needs to paint carries its own momentum. Public exhibits in Vancouver, where I often have paintings in a show, have been cancelled. Of course the internet continues as display and interaction substitute venue. But I get rather tired of it and its overload.

So, let me post this affirming picture of spring coming to bloom on Saturna. This wild currant bush greets me on my walk to the studio each morning, as does the buzzing of surrounding bees. I'm reminded there's something to accomplish and that spring happens, whether you choose to notice it or not.

Stay well and good wishes,
Janet  Strayer

Monday, March 16, 2020

Art Saturna Artist Interview: Pamala Page

Pamala Page is an artist who has worked in many mediums and is currently enjoying working with textiles. I met her in her home which sits atop a hill where she and her husband Larry enjoy a beautiful view of Tumbo Channel. 

How did you come to live on Saturna?

My husband’s sister, Leigh Field, lives here and we have been coming to visit her for a few years now. In August of 2018, before boarding the ferry, we stopped by Dockside Realty, saw a listing for Tumbo Channel Road, and within a few days we had an accepted offer. Our condo in Courtenay sold quickly. We are thrilled to have this acre of land with an ocean view. 

Tell me about yourself and your art.
I’ve always been a creative person. When I was a young child, I was often writing and collecting things such as feathers, pebbles, shells and any other detritus that looked interesting. When I married and had children, I continued knitting, crocheting, ceramics, sewing, and making pottery. It was important for me to have a creative outlet and time away from the demands of parenting. Twelve years ago, when we went to Mexico I became serious about my art and began making and exhibiting sea glass jewelry which sold very quickly. I became known as the 'Sea Glass Lady.'  Doing the same thing over and over bores me so I explore different mediums. Currently, I am really loving working with fibre and texture as it seems to bring together so many mediums that I work in, such as machine embroidery, quilting, fabric books, and many others. 

How did you become an artist?
I am completely self-taught. I had always dabbled in the arts but during my professional life it fell to the wayside. I was too busy. Now that my husband (Larry) and I are retired we have the time to dedicate to our art. After all the art work we have done in Mexico, we feel comfortable calling ourselves artists. 

What is your inspiration?
I’m a collector of anything in nature. I always bring home stuff in my pocket. Nature inspires me, so living here has been a great inspiration. Walking the trails, listening to the birds, and beach combing -  that is when I am at peace. 

What are you working on now?
What I would really like right now is a studio! (Laughs) We’ve been so busy with visitors since we moved here, plus we put in a huge garden, and are currently in the middle of a renovation, so there hasn’t been much time for art-making.  Most of my textiles and fibre supplies are still in storage as we renovate so I am working on more manageable projects like knitting and spinning. I am also making mixed media journals using fabric, stitching, and watercolour paper. I am also making little houses using left over fabric. 

Tell me about a piece of your work that you are really happy with and why. 
This elephant quilt reminds me of the time that we spent in Uganda.  It was such a life-changing experience and I was filled with ideas and inspiration. During our time in Uganda, we spent a day with an instructor creating dyed fabrics using many different techniques. The cloth was made into a piece of clothing for each of us and I asked for the leftover fabric which I brought home with me.  The elephant is made from left over pieces of dyed cloth and is a constant memory of our time in Africa. 

What’s the best thing about living on Saturna?
Oh my, it is a long list as there are so many things!  We love the quiet serenity of our little piece of Saturna and at night it is very dark and the sky is filled with stars. We are visited by deer who roam freely on our property. We have feeders for the Hummingbirds, Chic-a-dees, Northern Flickers, Towhees, Juncos, Woodpeckers and any other bird who stops by for a snack. Each day we watch the soaring Eagles and hear the cry of the Raven. The island is rugged and untouched as much of it is parkland. The community is small but connected with locals always reaching out to help others. Slowly we are meeting our neighbours and learning their stories.

Anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank you, Monica for the interview.  

You can see more of Pamala’s work at The Fibre Network:

Interview by Monica Morten

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

ArtSaturna Artist Shows in Vancouver

Two solo shows are being hosted this season for Janet Strayer in Vancouver. One, entitled Being There, at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver features paintings inspired by special spots in reality and myth.

The second show, entitled Wings of Imagination,  at the Zack Gallery in Vancouver features 3D mixed media assemblage/collage and paintings take us on a journey inspired by winged creatures, flying machines, and  vivid ideas that take flight in our imagination. Opening night reception on Nov. 28, 7-9pm, plus a special Poetry Event related to this show on Dec. 12, 7-9pm.

Both shows run  until Jan.4, 2020. A nice idea to channel in the New Year.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Art Saturna Artist Interview: Nettie Adams

Nettie Adams is a photographer who lives and works (mostly) on Saturna Island. I met her at her lovely forest home on East Point Road on a sunny, summer afternoon where we talked about her passions, art, Saturna, bamboo and hardy cacti…

Tell me a little about yourself and your art.
As a photographer, I rarely set out to shoot a specific image. Photographs just happen. They are fragments of timelessness captured in time. I know this to be true because of the way I feel. Excitement, complete fascination, a sense of connection, even rapture at times. Something in my visual world just speaksto me and I am hooked. This “timelessness” is a miracle to me. I am so human, so bound by norms, expectations and judgments that to be caught in a moment, of creative exhilaration, is pure joy.

How did you come to live on Saturna?
I first came to Saturna in 1985 to attend a friend’s wedding. I was busy with the wedding and taking photographs and didnt see much of the island. Five years later, when Charles and I were looking for somewhere in the Southern Gulf Islands to get married, I remembered Saturna.  We were married in St. Christophers Church in 1990. We were living and working in Vancouver, so we went back home afterwards, smitten by Saturna, hoping to one day be able to buy property there. In 1996 an opportunity arose to buy property and then we camped for another 20 years until we bought this house. We are regular part-timers; we spend about two-thirds of our time here. 

How did you become a photographer?
I have always been a photographer. I think I had a Brownie camera when I was five years old and took pictures of my pet bunny. I have a degree from UBC in Fine Arts with a specialty in photography. I was fortunate enough to be taught and mentored by the now world-famous photographer, Fred Herzog. He was actually a Biomedical professor at UBC and, at that time, there was no one to teach photography in the Fine Arts Department, so they hired Fred to do that. It was a very special opportunity. A group of us tripped around with Fred in the mid 70s. Fred taught me that if you get one or two good shots out of a roll of 36 (back in the days of film) you were doing awesome. Of course, every shot that he took was amazing. He also helped me to develop an eye to look for things that other people didnt see. When I finished my degree I didnt show any of my work for thirty years. Ive always had a camera and I continued to take family photos but any other photos that I took, I just kept to myself. I also worked for Lens and Shutter for many years and saw a lot of other peoples photos (laughs).

How did you start showing your work again?
Jean-Francois Renaud was curating the art exhibitions at the Saturna Café and he said, I can offer you a show. Saturna had rekindled my interest in artistic photography and so I said ‘yes.’ There was a lot of nervousness and trepidation, but I agreed. Theres nothing like a show to motivate you (laughs). That first show was in 2012 and was called Sagaciousand Ive had several other shows since. I once covered the inside of the Café with panoramic shots of tree bark that totaled 21 feet in length. It was called “Enfoldment.”

Ethereal Egg
What inspires you?
Saturna inspires me. It has been a very photographic summer. I often photograph community events and I did the Lamb Barbecue, again this year. This time I focused on all the work bees and volunteers. It was amazing. It’s important, to me, to document that event because the record says so much about community. There are so many people, who do so much, that it is almost impossible to describe to someone who hasnt seen it. In many ways, Im like a voyeur when Im behind my camera but when I photographed the BBQ this year, I got to see how I fit into the community. That was an important moment for me.

How do you fit into the community?
I saw that everything that people do is important building the tables, making the rice, cleaning the site and I saw that what I do is important too. By taking photos I help others to see the community. I am a connector and making connections through my photographs builds and unites the community.  I help to broaden the view; to provide a window to each other and to life. 

Tell me about a piece of work that you are really happy with and why?
(Nettie took me inside her house to see two photographs that she has mounted and framed on her wall. Both photos portray intimate moments of young people in Thailand.  One is titled Boysand the other Painted.  As she shows them to me and speaks about them she has tears in her eyes).  Sometimes it is a privilege to take a photo.  There is a moment when I see something and I am smitten.  Its the movement of the light and I lose all sense of time and space; time stops and I am in awe.  I live in that moment.  Photography is a means to capture the magical wonder in nature and the world. 

What projects are you working on or looking forward to?
This weekend I have a show opening at the Café called 3 x 3 In Plain View.’  Two others photographers, Maureen Welton and Nancy Angermeyer and I are showing together.  I feel honoured to be sharing the space with these two women. The show will be up during the Art Saturna Tour on the BC Day weekend, August 3rd and 4th when other artists on the island also have their studios open. Im also very excited about an event Ill be having at the Sunset Talks at East Point on August 30th. Its called Night de Lightand my images will be projected large-scale onto the side of the Fog Alarm Building.  Having my images presented in such a grand scale is something Ive dreamed of for a long time.  Bring a blanket and come see!

You can see more of Nettie’s work at:

-By Monica Morten

Thursday, July 25, 2019

An Exhibition of Photography: 3 X 3 - In Plain View

Photographers Nettie Adams, Nancy Angermeyer and Maureen Welton are featuring their work at the Saturna Cafe with an opening reception this Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 4-6 pm.  Come down and meet the artists and experience the world 'In Plain View' in a way that you may have never seen before!