Acrylic paintings on display at Burde Beans

Local painter Shelley Penner will have an exhibit of acrylic paintings

Local painter Shelley Penner will have an exhibit of acrylic paintings at Burde Beans on display for the month of August.

Penner started out painting watercolours, and taught the art of watercolour painting at parks and rec for 20 years. Penner said she started working on canvas and rocks because she couldn’t afford to frame her watercolours after retiring, so this gave her an opportunity to create hangable artwork.

“I’ve been doing art in some form all my life,” said Penner.

Her acrylic canvasses will be on display and for sale at Burde Beans for the month of August, as well as some of her painted rocks.

Penner is mostly a self-taught artist. She tried art school, but found that she gained more knowledge through summer workshops through the Federation of Canadadian artists, which are taught on Salt Spring Island.

“It’s a different instructor each day, and they’re working artists, so they’re making a living at their art,” she explained. “They taught practical technique.”

She said moving from rocks to canvas was a bit of a challenge. “I just looked at this big white canvas and thought, ‘I have to paint the whole thing.’”

She borrowed an airbrushing tool from a friend and “fell instantly in love.” This is how she paints the backgrounds of her canvasses. The airbrushing, she said, brought some of the spontaneity back that she missed from watercolours.

“It’s not as tightly controlled, but there’s a simplicity to it,” she explained. “That makes it fun.”

Penner said she has a closet full of bits and bobs she uses to spray around.

Penner, who prefers to work in realism, is mostly inspired by what she finds in nature. She is an avid birder, and most of her paintings come from her own photographs.

“Birds are one of my favourite subjects,” she admitted. “I love all animals.”