Oak Bay Susan Mark-Purney’s work always starts with white or black.
White fabric travels through her mind and hands, transforming to something entirely different before hanging in an art show or on a patron’s wall.
She started as a traditional quilter, even writing five books and running a pattern company.
“Then I had done a lot of different courses in what people might think of as contemporary art quilting,” Mark-Purney said.
She learned surface design, dying, painting and print making all “different ways of applying a pattern and texture to fabric.”
Now, everything she creates starts from white or black fabric and incorporates both large and small works.
Her primary focus right now is a series of large works based from photographs snapped at the Burrard shipyards.
“What appeals to me about it is it’s old abandoned rusty skeletons that you see the birds flying in and out of and creatures scurrying around,” she said. A series of smaller works – called Notables – focuses on mark-making and fabric collage.
“That’s the beginning of what I hope to be an ongoing work,” she said.
When she heads down to the park Aug. 13 for the annual Bowker Creek Brush Up, Mark-Purney plans to have visitors participate.
“It’s not necessarily about making ‘art’ but about making marks on fabric, that I use in my work,” she said.
“Kids are great. The kids are just so into it,” she said. “Younger kids really engage with it, the adults seem a little more shy. .. You just approach it as you would if you were a three-year-old. It’s about seeing what happens when you use different tools.”
She’s among the 36 local artists heading for the shady banks of Bowker Creek Park to interact with the public while creating their art form en plein air.
“As an artist you’re in your studio and you’re not interacting with people. It’s a way to get out and talk with people and demonstrate and engage,” she said.
Guest Artists include Pat Martin Bates, Sandu Singh, and Jessie Barron. Enjoy beautiful art, friendly artists, a Creation Station for kids, and live music. A free event for the whole family, The Bowker Creek Brush Up is the kick-off event for the Oak Bay Arts and Culture Week.
Visitors can enjoy painting, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, wood turning and photography, Sunday, Aug. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Bowker Creek Park, 1700 Hampshire Rd.