August 19,2006
Award Winning Artist

In years past I have delighted in attending Vancouver's own Bard on the Beach Festival directed by Christopher Gaze. For many years it was a summer tradition for me and a select group of friends to attend every year and indeed the summer would not be complete without it. Alas kids came along and it became harder to attend with babysitters always in short supply. However my memories remained fond of the great time I had spent summer after summer under the tents at Vanier Park, delighting in the incredible renditions of Shakespeare's greatest works. A few weeks ago I was enthrawled when I came across a call for submissions at the Eileen Fong Co-op gallery in Vancouver for their upcoming show "Visions of Shakespeare" The object of the show was for artists to paint from one of the many works of Shakespeare, particularly the 2006 season. I enthusiastically popped over to the Bard on the Beach website and read their line up of performances for the season. The one that inspired me the most was A Midsummer Night's Dream. What fun it would be to paint a scene of fairies and perhaps a love scene between the Fairy Queen and an ass. I refamiliarized myself with the play and set out to paint a 19X24 pastel painting of Titania smitten with Bottom, in his assy form. I submitted my work and that was that. This past Thursday Night was the Opening and Judging done by none other than Christopher Gaze himself. Prizes were tickets to the Bard on the Beach performance of the winner's choice. My husband raced home from work and we rushed over town to get to the gallery for 5:30 when it opened. I had been to the International Marketplace in Tinseltown once before and found it an interesting place to be. It seems to be bubbled where one unsavory section of Vancouver meets another. Its a funny sort of serene place where one can hide in beauty from the ugly rundowness of the city. Up the escalator and right into the mouth of the gallery, I was impressed by the many paintings gracing the windows and walls of the glassed space. The Eileen Fong Gallery is bright and airy, full of high windows that makes one feel like they are gazing at art amoung the clouds and blue sky. The Visions of Shakespeare exhibit took up about 2/3 the length of a very long wall. Many talented artists offered up their interpretations of the famous works of Shakespeare, or even of The Bard himself, in many mediums including ceramics, watercolour, acrylic, and pastel. There was a beautiful table set out with all kinds of treats from cookies to sushi. There was a comfortable amount of people, not too crowded. I spotted my painting across from the food table (hmmm was that a prime location or a bad one? lol) It seemed to generate a lot of interest as they all did. Unfortunately I was too far away to hear any of the comments surrounding my work, as I do so love to hear feedback, espesically the positive kind, lol. Still it was lovely to see that people were enjoying my work along with the work of the other artists entered. Around 6:30pm Christopher Gaze commanded the attention of everyone and began his speech leading up to the awarding of prizes and announcing of the winners. He talked about his many years as a director and performer of Shakespeare and explained that every moment in time could be a work of art. If someone were to watch us all looking at art or watching a performance then that in itself would be a work of art. All of our faces, expressions, poses could be captured as a moment in time, a masterpiece. He went on to say that art, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder and explained that his choices were personal and if we didn't agree then that was just fine. So without further adu he went on to introduce the third place winner. I was very pleased to see him walk over to my painting and begin to talk about it. He started off by saying that he loved faeries and that his aunt could see faeries in her garden. Then he quoted from A Midsummer Night's Dream concerning faeries. He explained that that was what he loved about my painting, the faeries in it and how beguiled Titania was with Bottom and how I really captured the emotion and feeling of that scene. He was taken with my tree faerie and with Puck watching from behind. He called me a very talented artist and thanked me for my beautiful work. Then he awarded me with a 3rd place certificate and tickets to come see a performance of Bard on the Beach. I was very honored!! The painting that won second place was an interesting one by Carole Milne, a portrait of the Bard with a multicoloured background. The winning piece was a watercolour with stunning light coming down through the trees, into a faerie forest, and I'm sorry but I did not retain the artist's name, my appologies. The night was a very exciting one and I am very honoured to have won 3rd place amoung so many talented artists. It was wonderful to meet Mr. Gaze too as well as Eileen Fong and many of the other artists also attending that night. Thank you all for your words and works! Melanie The Visions of Shakespeare show runs until September 30th and can be seen in the Eileen Fong Gallery on the second floor at 88 Pender St. in Vancouver. www.coopgallery.comThou Art as Wise as Thou Art BeautifulThou Art as Wise as Thou Art Beautiful

Posted by Melanie Cossey at 05:50 2 Comments
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