Aug. 8, 2012
Local woman travels as Copper Cowgirl
When painted bronze and dressed in chaps and cowboy hat with gravity-defying pigtails, Claire Bezuidenhout is unrecognizable.
The 29-year-old Sooke resident works in the unorthodox profession of street performance art.
Usually seen in downtown Victoria as the Copper Cowgirl, Bezuidenhout pulls four to eight hour shifts as a statue that comes to life with the drop of a coin.
“I’m coin operated so I’m really still, and then if you put a coin in I kind of come to life,” Bezuidenhout said.
In robotic type movements, Bezuidenhout playfully enacts western scenes like quick draws and stare downs with random strangers.
“I love it. It’s a lot of fun to kind of amaze people, and it’s so much fun being able to make people laugh,” she said.
Sept. 5, 2012
Wild women and bad dogs
Angela Menzies is a painter of nudes. Sure, she also includes dogs and cats every once in awhile, but her main focus is the female form with all its curves and lines. She celebrates women in a non-sexual way. Her view is the beauty of women as seen in such simple acts as bathing, curled on a rug or sitting in a chair. They are, if an explanation is needed, exotic. Not erotic, not sexual and not offensive in any way.
“I’m inspired by wild women and bad dogs,” she explains.
Menzies and her mother, Bonnie Coulter, will be showing their recent work at the Sooke Harbour House for the month of September. At first the women were to have a joint show, entitled “Breaking the Line,” but things changed.
Menzies had 12 paintings of nudes in the Garden Room but they have since been transferred to the upper foyer. Coulter’s art works will hang without Menzies’ pieces.
Menzies feels a bit censored.
“When you start censoring nudity in art, you are censoring women,” said Menzies.
Nov. 14, 2012
Paintings brighten up SEAPARC
SEAPARC employee Jacklyn Evans, 26, has been brightening up the leisure centre with colourful and elaborate murals for the past five years.
“I get tons and tons of people just saying how it brightens it up in here and it just adds life to the place,” Evans said.
Throughout the year, Evans will complete between three to four large murals and about 10 smaller artworks. The larger works are usually painted along windows surrounding the pool area.
She is the mastermind behind each design, which, depending on the size, can take up to 40 hours to plan.
The idea starts on paper, where the mural’s features are carefully mapped out.
“Usually I’ll just come up with a theme and just start building off of that theme,” Evans said, adding the themes are usually holiday-related or generic.
Oct. 3, 2012
Honest songs from the heart of John McNeil
John McNeil is a wiry guy with a rumpled cowboy hat and a song to sing. His voice is like Canadian Club in a velvet bag. His lyrics echo a well-travelled life with experiences good and bad all rolled up into songs that speak from the heart.
McNeil is a singer/songwriter with two CDs behind him and another in front.
While many in Sooke may not have heard of him, he’s been heard across the country and his albums have gotten excellent reviews. His album Straight form the Heart is a testament to his past. Lyrics such as, “We thank our luck stars we ain’t dying in a rundown bar,” speak of sad lives on the streets. A Youtube video of the song dredges up images one looks away from on the dirty streets in cities across the country. He said this song was nominated for an Honourable Mention at the 1997 Juno Awards.
“A few songs on there made some waves across the country,” said McNeil. “I wasn’t expecting to be treated so kindly.”
McNeil is a modest man, one whose luck hasn’t always been the best. He was raised in three provinces, his first 11 years in Cape Breton where home was an orphanage. He now calls Sooke home and he seems to have settled into a lifestyle he enjoys. He’s a storyteller with a lot to tell and at about 60 years old he has had the life to bring honesty to his songs.
Of his country songs he said, “You got to get married a couple of times to enjoy a good country song.”