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    Categories: Entertainment

Artists gain extra exposure

DO NOT DISTURB – Let Sleeping Dogs Lie is one of Father Douglas' most recent creations.

Painter Liz Meetsma is getting some good exposure in one of the least painterly places these days. The local artist is one of a trio whose works have been on exhibit in Gallery 7, the back room at the Bookstore on Perron, since the beginning of May.

When the show closes down in another week or so, Meetsma gets to stick around for round two. Her next exhibit is in the same venue for the month of June.

It’s a classic case of never missing an opportunity when it’s presented.

Organizer Father Douglas explained that he sent the list around for people to sign up and Meetsma signed up for June.

“The other months filled up quickly but the only one that didn’t was May.”

Only Jim Henderson, the president of the St. Albert Painters Guild, agreed to take one of the opening slots. No one else seemed interested, however.

Douglas continued that Meetsma put her name down again in order to make sure that the opening show of the summer season had enough exhibiting artists.

“I put out an appeal to the other members: ‘Wanna show in May?’ Finally, after awhile, Liz said, ‘If you don’t have anybody, can I show?’ I said sure.”

Only then did Douglas think he should also put some of his own works into the mix, “just to fill up the place so it doesn’t look bad for the first month of the ArtWalk. So we got that all together.”

The show offers a selection of the trio’s most pleasing works. Meetsma has the market cornered on serene scenes of sea life, including dolphins and turtles, or landscapes ranging from the desert to the prairie farm to a place called Belleview Lake. The lake has a beautiful view, indeed.

Henderson’s work shows us his Revelstoke, some limestone kilns, this city’s grain elevators, and a very toothy mountain range.

For his part, Douglas has a series of landscapes with streams, forests and more mountains, some with great frenetic energy and others so hot they look as though they’re on fire. Veering away from the serious, he also has a playful collection of small images of dogs in repose.

This painters’ guild exhibit closes on Tuesday, while the new one opens on Wednesday, June 5, just in time for the next ArtWalk event on Thursday. Along with Meetsma, that show will feature Anne Brown, Betty Tessier and Diane Stone.

These painters’ guild shows will run one a month throughout the summer with the last taking place in September. It’s a part of an exclusive arrangement between the bookstore and the guild.

Muralists seldom work on small canvases and local muralist Rob Murray understands this concept very well. The so-called Stormin’ Mormon put up three huge works averaging three metres by six metres on the sides of businesses in Morinville last July. Now he’s got some more, but this time the murals are right inside a St. Albert business, and they’re way underground.

Murray was contacted by the management of Force on Force, an indoor close quarters air ball combat training facility running out of a long vacant former bowling alley on the east end of Grandin Park Plaza.

“They’re all ex-military,” Murray explained. “They wanted to pay homage to their comrades. They approached me and said, ‘Please, let’s consider something in memorial.’ I’ve never painted that genre before but I think they’re very happy with it.”

The commission called for four separate 1.2 by 2.4 metre murals depicting Canadian soldiers in various combat situations. They are already completed and on display in the privately-run operation.

“Each one has a story to be told. There’s a reason behind each particular picture. We’re looking at doing a lot more: the Korean War, World War II, the whole ball of wax,” Murray said.

He added that there are talks now to produce as many as 16 pieces from various international conflicts in which Canadians have played a role.

The first display is encased in Plexiglas so that none of the images get damaged by the air guns used during training exercises. Murray said that, at an undetermined point in the future, the murals will likely be moved to Edmonton Garrison.

Murray not only painted the murals but also the walls inside the large room.

“In order to make it a little more authentic looking, I also painted the entire room as if it was the inside of an abandoned church and you’re looking out the windows of the church. Each of these particular vignettes would be like a vision looking outside the church into a field,” he explained.

There are scenes of soldiers loading missiles while others interact pleasantly with small children. Another has a villager on a bike while a tank approaches.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.