Christopher Lucas will be exhibiting his art at Gallery West in the South Shore Gallery.

Opening the cupboard to find art

Shirley painter mounts exhibit of recent work at Gallery West

In a collection of 40 paintings, local artist Christopher Lucas, depicts the lush forests and crashing waves from Sooke to Port Renfrew.

The show called Cupboards in Memory will run from July 25 to Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Gallery West in the South Shore Gallery on 2046 Otter Point Rd. The artist reception will be held on Aug. 1 from 12 to 7 p.m.

The colourist impressionist, acrylic paintings carry bold colours that are swiped across canvas or antique cupboard door surfaces in detailed and rich strokes.

The cupboard doors, which still have their original hinges attached, are a new endeavour that Lucas incorporated into the show, after receiving them from a recycling job.

Instead of perceiving the 100-year-old cupboard doors as trash, Lucas saw potential for art, which led to the theme for his show — a collection of memories possessed by the intimate.

“Every kitchen has cupboard doors, and if those doors had  memory of things heard, all the stories, and dreams and triumphs, each door could tell it’s own story,” Lucas said.

Although the paintings feature a subtle abstract quality, they depict landscapes that are familiar like Muir Creek, the Juan de Fuca Strait, Tugwell Creek and the Sheringham Point lighthouse.

“I try to have a lot of information and to have a story being told,” Lucas said. “I like painting places that people recognize because then there’s an emotional connection… they can identify with it.”

The paintings were done on location, and later finished up in Lucas’ studio in Shirley, where he also constructed each of the frames.

The show will be Lucas’ first in Sooke this year.

“I’m excited, but also relieved because of the amount of work and the amount of creative energy gone to make this happen,” Lucas said of the exhibit.

The 46 year old sold his first painting at the tender age of 12, but began his craft early on in his childhood.

“It was pretty obvious to my parents that I was interested in painting and the arts and they were very encouraging and supportive,” he said, adding art supplies were given for Christmas and birthdays for years to come.

To date, Lucas has done about 4,500 paintings that have shown all over the world, from Banffshire, Scotland to Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan to cities throughout North America.

In addition to acrylic, Lucas has a command of water colour and oil painting.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alta., Lucas moved to Vancouver Island three and a half years ago, and said the surrounding area is like none other.

“The West Coast is a very, very unique landscape, there’s  nothing that really compares to it,” he said. “I very much feel at home here on the West Coast and I think it’s one of the most beautiful places to live.”

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