It is impossible to see Al Anderson’s inviting backyard from the street--the tidy rows of vegetables basking in the sun or the bright pops of floral colour that cry out, "summer is here."
However, it is one of the many places the visual artist draws inspiration from and immortalizes in his paintings. Anderson knows the value of perseverance and moving forward, but he also intuitively understands the joy and healing power art can bring.
“I’ve travelled in all 10 provinces and taken photographs of every place I’ve been to and worked at,” Anderson said.
This Saturday, as part of the third-annual Art in the Open tour and sale, Anderson will display about 50 paintings with diverse subject matter ranging from forests, gardens and mountainscapes, to crumbling farm homesteads, golden stook fields, to the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis.
The self-guided Art in the Open tour and sale is put on by the St. Albert Painters' Guild and features 15 visual artists at seven locations where driveways are converted into outdoor galleries.
“We started Art in the Open during COVID in 2021," said Guild vice-president Lorraine Bérubé. "Everything inside was closed. People were walking outdoors, and we could meet on driveways and peruse the artwork.”
Bérubé describes Anderson as a “warhorse,” and no wonder.
Anderson joined the painters’ guild in 1978, four years after it was launched and is now considered "a lifetime member." Additionally, he was a strong presence in the community as owner/operator of Alaura Artworks at the old Grandin Mall for 17 years before retiring in 2011. In between commissions and finding personal time to paint, he continues to feature his realistic landscape paintings at Artwalk, Night of Artists Gallery and the Misericordia Women’s Centre.
Anderson has also invited water colourist Andrew Raczynski and acrylic artist Frances Pelletier to showcase their assorted paintings at 51 Fenwick Crescent.
While the bulk of artists will be featured in Forest Lawn, driveways in Heritage Lakes, Kingswood and Oakmont will be open to the public.
Suzan Berwald, showing at 51 Osbourne Close, works in watercolours, mixed media, pastels and printmaking. Memory Roth, renowned for her iconic depictions of prominent St. Albert scenes painted in oil, will feature her art at 7 Kildeer Court.
Sri Lankan born Clarence Kingsley-Pillai, a self-taught artist working in oils, watercolours and acrylics is stationed at 81 Fenwick Cr. Veering onto 17 Fair Oaks Drive is a quartet of artists: Luise Mendler, Claudette Pelletier-Hannah, Laurena Beirnef and Tracy Lyn Propp.
Further down, at 66 Fair Oaks Drive, Peg McPherson and Sue Waring are exhibiting their paintings. And finally, Deb Blair, Lorraine Bérubé and Liz Meetsma are parked on 32 Haviland Crescent.
Prices for works can range anywhere from $5 for a greeting card to $600-plus for a finely crafted original painting.
“This type of event gives artists free rein at their own show, and they don’t pay a percentage or entrance fee to anyone," Bérubé said. "It’s healthy for everyone. You’re outside with artists and it’s an opportunity to meet new artists and get to know them.”
Art in the Open runs rain or shine on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For artist bios, locations and self-guided tour maps visit paintersguild.wildapricot.org.