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    Categories: Entertainment

Artists About Town

All the way at the back of the Bookstore on Perron, there is a fine little area completely empty of books, knick-knacks, teddy bears and everything else that the quaint, well-established store sells.

In this quiet room, there is some seating, some counter space and a sampling of art from two members of the St. Albert Painters’ Guild: Elizabeth Tessier and newcomer Efim Konovalov.

Together, the works make a great match. They both represent a travelogue of picture-perfect postcards from the artists’ sightseeing excursions around the globe. Tessier has a few watercolours of a San Francisco dock and Piccadilly Square over the years. He, on the other hand, takes the viewer to Jerusalem Tower, Prague and Mazatlán.

“I lived in Jerusalem for seven years and I’ve been to Mexico. My mom has been to Prague so that’s where that picture came from,” he explained. “I like to have different images of different countries and paint them. I want to have as many paintings from other countries as possible. I try to select the best spots.”

Konovalov was practically destined to be this kind of artist. Born in the central Russian industrial city of Kemerovo, he started off his artistic career studying with Elena Makarova at the Museum of Israel. He moved to Canada about 14 years ago where he got further training from Alex Kostenko, Igor Postash and Grant MacEwan University art history Prof. Ming Yee.

Now, the Edmonton-based painter and recent Bachelor of Arts grad has a growing rĂ©sumĂ© that includes the Whyte Avenue Art Walk and shows at the Muttart Conservatory and the Jasper Artists Guild’s Brushfire Gallery. Joining the St. Albert Painters’ Guild has given him some good opportunities like this show and the upcoming annual fall show.

As far as building up his travelogue slideshow, Konovalov thought that his next trips abroad might very well be to the same countries he’s already familiar with, like Israel and Mexico.

“Maybe to the Dominican Republic,” he said, sounding like a painter with an eye for the hottest of the hotspots of the world.

The guild’s fall show takes place from Oct. 19 to 21. For more information, visit www.paintersguild.ca.

The house is full at VASA’s new home base in the Hemingway Centre, so there isn’t room for every one of its many members to have a studio in residence.

It’s a good thing that they can still all come together on the last Monday of every month to discuss their craft and techniques, thanks to a new initiative.

Art Chat Nights are now being offered to allow artists to bring a painting for critique and discussion. At the same time, it affords the growing and diverse group a chance to come together, support one another and build up their collective talents.

Carla Beerens is one of the members. She said that the first such discussions led by Miles Constable and Carol Johnson are good exercises in artistic democracy.

“There’s no hierarchy involved. It’s all equal value, so no one artist is considered more expert than the other artists. We get together and we present a painting that we want to talk about. We just have all our expertise combined and we all give points and pointers on the paintings. It’s a mentoring at an equal level-type process.”

She added that an extra set of eyes on your work often makes the biggest difference.

“Sometimes it gets quite exciting. When you’re painting your own stuff, you don’t always see your own stuff.”

The next chat takes place on Monday, July 30 at 7 p.m. VASA is located at 25 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue. Attendance is free for members while non-members pay $10.

To learn more, call 780-460-5990 or visit www.vasa.ca.

St. Albert Gazette: The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.