Walter Collins returns to Days With the Arts studio tour this year, with new paintings and some of his classic stone sculptures.
Collins has participated in almost all of the Community Arts Council-sponsored studio tours, which are organized every second year. This year’s tour happens on Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17.
Collins missed the last tour in 2009 because his daughter got married in the Dominican Republic on the same weekend. He’s looking forward to this year’s tour.
“It’s great exposure,” he said. “It’s great to have people come to artists’ studios instead of artists having to go to the gallery with their stuff.”
Collins will have a mixture of his soapstone and alabaster carvings, and West Coast-inspired acrylic landscapes on display. In a departure from his usual work, Collins has also painted historic scenes reflecting his familial heritage from Scotland and England. “It’s completely different from anything I’ve done before,” he admitted.
Collins has delved into his ancestry, and traced his maternal family tree back to the time of King Henry II and William Marshall.
“My mom always told me stories that there was some kind of royalty in our line, but I thought it was just a story,” he said.
Collins hasn’t created many new soapstone carvings because he is still recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in a car accident, however, he has included two pieces from carver Mike Semkiw. Collins gave Semkiw instruction on both pieces.
The pair are collaborating on a new mural for businessman Archie Cardinal’s business depicting an Italian village.
Collins and some of his artist friends have painted 52 murals around Port Alberni, 18 of which are visible if one drives around town. The most recognized is of Della Falls on the side of the Best Western Barclay Hotel, at the corner of Stamp Avenue and Roger Street.
Collins has set up an exhibit area in his home, since his studio cannot accommodate too many people. His exhibit space can be seen at 2621 Anderson during the tour.
More than 100 artists are involved in this year’s Days With the Arts tour, April 16-17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 (including a map and wrist band) and are available at the Rollin Art Centre and Echo Centre.