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Getting in The Mix

Getting in The Mix

The Mix visual art show, featuring Charly Mithrush, Lore Schmidts and Donna Stewart, takes place August 16-18 at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt. Art lovers will know that Power of Paint usually takes place during the mid-August weekend, but with PoP taking a break from exhibiting, the three artists of The Mix felt stepping into the traditional exhibition slot would be a great opportunity for them to showcase their work. They’ve invited Francine Desjardins to join them as a guest artist. “Somebody’s got to go in there,” says Mithrush of why The Mix decided to show at Seaside. “It would be a shame for it to sit empty on this weekend.”

Charly Mithrush poses in her Halfmoon Bay studio with a work titled “Built on a Dream”, which includes floor plans of the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral. She is one of four artists exhibiting Aug. 16-18 at the Seaside Centre in Sechelt. Anna Nobile photo

Mithrush has been an artist all her life, taking courses at Emily Carr and Capilano universities, but perhaps the best art education she received was from her father who worked as a commercial artist. “He was absolutely the best teacher,” says Mithrush whose studio is in Halfmoon Bay. “We had an old arborite table and my dad would take it out and we [Mithrush and her siblings] were allowed to draw right on the table.” Her father’s occupation exposed Mithrush to a variety of art styles and mediums, an early influence that is still present in her work. She started with watercolour. “Watercolour is one of the harder mediums to learn,” she says. “You have to let it happen. Learning that was key.” From there she moved on to acrylics, printmaking, photography, and working with wood and resins. “My new love is encaustics and books,” she says. She has been collecting book covers and dedication pages from libraries, recycling depots, and second-hand stores at home and on recent trips to Paris and Florence. “I just love them,” she says of the vintage books. “They’re like little treasures.” Mithrush is a collector of “bits and bobs” and incorporates all sorts of things into her artwork: dried flowers, crown moulding, jewellery, vintage papers, photos, and books. An avid reader, she also uses text and lines of poetry and philosophy to create a narrative. “Telling a story would be the common thread that ties [the artworks] all together,” she admits. A black and white blueprint for a house topped by a colourful and textured bird nest is as much about habitat loss as it is about the idea of home. The geometric “Built on a Dream,” which includes floor plans of the recently damaged Notre Dame Cathedral, is as much about architecture as is it about human aspirations and invention. “I’ve gotten to the point now where as an artist I want to push things,” she says. Her work unites various elements, mediums and styles, and is reflective of an approach that uses a sense of play, discovery and experimentation. “How can I get them all to dance together?” she says of those diverse elements. “How can I create those really unique pieces that have everything? To me, that’s the
fun part.”

For the weekend exhibit, the artists are planning to display their larger pieces on the main floor with smaller pieces being shown upstairs. Though they are veterans of exhibiting their work, the tight timelines and scale of this show has them especially excited. “Art, if it just sits in your house, if it’s never seen – what’s the purpose?” asks Mithrush in her thoughtful way. “Get it out there and let people enjoy it. Hopefully we’ll have a great reception.”

The Mix runs at the Seaside Centre this weekend. Opening reception August 16, 5 to 9pm; August 17, 10am to 7pm; and August 18, 10am to 5pm. Ten percent of all sales will be donated to the Sechelt Hospital Foundation. Admission is free and all are welcome

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