Painter brings the seashore to Prince George

Landlocked Prince George is spending time by the seashore this month.

Painter Geoff Brasier is the featured artist in the Studio 2880 showroom with a collection of paintings he calls By The Seashore. Not all of the works have a beach or a boat, but Brasier assembled a set of his original images that together evoke B.C.'s natural personality, and a dominant part of that is our rugged coastline.

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There is an intimate feel to the show, even when the painting shows a sweeping landscape. Perhaps this is achieved by Brasier's sense of place in the scenery he paints. "I don't very often paint from my imagination," he said. Rather, he goes places, and takes photographs or collects visual impressions that he later puts down on canvas.

"I just want to show life, in some way," he said. "And it is really important to me that any painting of mine has a story, even if it's just for me."

He points across the gallery to a horizontal painting of deciduous trees. The outline seems unfinished, or the image torn from a larger one, because Brasier's brush strokes are jagged around the rim and don't run into a straight-line frame. The title is Row Of Birches Near Smithers. He explained that he saw these trees in the rearview mirror as he drove eastward back to Prince George, and the spray of colour imprinted in his creative memory. Later, when he set to work painting them, he didn't want to lose that rearview shape because it was such a strong part of that moment.

"This one over here is a day or two after a north storm," he said, pointing out the debris on the sand, the whitecaps still topping the waves, and traces of fog still lingering. "I called it Storm Patrol."

It is acrylic painted on wood. He also has experience with watercolours, and has especially taken a fancy lately to the goache style (pronounced go-WASH: an opaque material with more reflective qualities than common watercolour paint).

"You can see on this one here (one he entitled Rocks On Salt Spring painted on canvas) that I added these flecks to the stones to indicate the secondhand reflection of light. That's a technique I just couldn't get with regular watercolours, and I couldn't get with acrylic, but it is a feature of goache I can use."

He isn't precious about a particular technique or a particular tool any more than he is about how the image tumbles out of his mind and dives off the end of his brush.

"If I want an image to get onto the canvas, any way that happens is fair game," he said.

He also moves his paintings out onto the art market quickly. He has some photographs in stock at the Studio 2880 Gift Shoppe but other than the ones in this exhibition, has has little else at the ready.

He has plenty on the go, though, at his home studio. And what does his workspace look like?

"It looks a lot like the basement furnace room," he laughed. "I have a tabletop down there that can go flat or be tilted up to 45 degrees. I have a big six-foot countertop, two big sinks, and I've installed lots of light. It's very simple. My paints are on that countertop work surface. I have my goache paints, two kinds of acrylics, no oils at all anymore, some pencils, some scissors and a knife and little things like that. It's a simple operation."

By The Seaside is Brasier's second exhibition at the Studio 2880 gallery. He did one in 2015 as well. He is also getting ready for the upcoming 6x6 art auction, the show and sale done every year by the Community Arts Council that is exclusively for art smaller than six inches by six inches.

Most of the works in this exhibition are for sale. It will be on display until April 18.

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