The art community is an important part of Sooke’s identity, something that local artist Linda Gordon knows all to well.
Gordon has been living in Sooke since 1975, and became heavily involved in the art scene in Sooke about eight years ago.
“I’ve had shows with the arts council, and just meeting people and being supported by the arts community is what keeps me going,” said Gordon.
She explained that when she was younger she was “a starving artist” for a few years, until she was 21 and decided to put down the brush and study math and physics in school.
Gordon said she worked an average nine-to-five job for a few years, and afterwords spent her days taking care of her family. She didn’t return to her passion of art until later in life.
“Being retired isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” laughed Gordon, saying that art gives her something to do, as well as provides her with a little extra spending money.
“I guess what really put me on the path again was people saying, ‘Oh that’s really good, can I buy it?’ I get a kick out of people thinking my work is good enough to buy.”
Gordon enjoys doing acrylic paintings on canvas, both realism and abstract, as well as photography. Her favourite thing to paint and photograph is portraits of dogs.
“I love dogs. I’m always kind of looking at real dogs and wondering how I can paint them,” she said. “And when I deliver a dog portrait and a person just loves it, it’s a really good feeling.”
Gordon explained that most of her paintings are of photos that she takes, and when doing realism paintings she will often wear microscope glasses to add fine details to her pieces.
“I find that really helps make a painting look real,” said Gordon. “If I’m doing something that’s supposed to look like something, I want it to look real. But when I’m doing an abstract painting, there are no rules.”
Gordon said she loves the diversity that comes with painting, and enjoys trying out different styles and techniques with her art.
“You can do anything, nothing is wrong, and if you make a mistake you can always paint over it,” said Gordon.
Along with doing her own work, she likes the social aspect that comes with the Sooke art community and has been involved in various events around town such as the Fall Fair and Beach Art Day.
Lynda Slater, a member of the Sooke Arts Council, said Gordon is a friendly, energetic person who is full of good ideas.
She explained that Gordon is also an avid volunteer within the Sooke art community.
“When I volunteer for the arts council, she’s there. When I volunteer for the fine arts, she’s there. At the fall fair, I see her there. She’s everywhere, and she’s always willing to lend a hand to anyone that needs it,” said Slater.
This year, Gordon was unable to participate in the fair because she will be away, but helped organize the upcoming Beach Art Day at Whiffin Spit.
She said community art projects are a fun thing for people to get involved in and demonstrate how much Sooke supports the arts.
“Even if you’re not an artist, historically you have to look at what art does for society. All the way from editorial cartoonists to fine art, I think its sort of a mirror of the times,” said Gordon.
“You know when all art is supported and welcome, that a society is doing pretty well. And as soon as there is a non support for art in general, I think the society is heading towards a totalitarian type of state.
“The very fact that all types of art are welcome, even if people don’t agree with it, at least is an expression of freedom.”