Jan Rankin


Because we are human, we all have more than one world governing our lives. In our outer world, we are physically present and, if fortunate and perhaps wise, can move through birth, youth and middle years into old age with love and friendship to help in the quest we decide upon.

And again, because we are human, each of us also has an inner world, wherein our brains work with, and sometimes against, our natural instincts to move us along specific paths of activity suggested perhaps by ambition, curiosity or some form of self-expression.

Artists don’t have a singular claim on expressing themselves via the trained use of brush and paint, pen and ink, but visual art commands galleries and museums, gathers historical recognition going back thousands of years and sometimes draws incredibly high prices for art whose creators died in poverty and despair. Think of Vincent van Gogh.

Paint My World is South Delta Artists Guild’s current show at Gallery 1710, running now through April 19, and collectively it presents a variety of work from its members. The paintings of four artists in particular show how each very differently explores visual art to “Paint My World,” and, surprisingly, their individual artistic experience ranges from lifetime to less than a year.

Complex, abstract and amazingly detailed, the work of Dennis Walsh demands close attention. This former fisherman began exploring art using marker pens about four years ago. He joined the guild and has gradually expanded his understanding and capacity for expressing his inner world in finely drafted paintings conveyed through markers, chalk, pen and ink, and watercolour.

Quite opposite in mode, technique and purpose is the work of Jacquie Dunn, who takes the viewer of her free-flowing paintings into the forests and landscapes of Canada’s West Coast, recently working around the village of Ucluelet, where Emily Carr did some of her early work. Recently retired after 35 years teaching art in Delta schools, she now has time to paint as she wishes.

“Art is my lifelong passion,” she says, interpreting and sharing her love of the natural world in oils and acrylics, painted with intensity and speed.

Jan Rankin’s paintings have just come on show at Gallery 1710 because she only started painting less than a year ago, after a frustrating “learn to paint” party set her off to explore on her own, buying the most inexpensive basics needed and experimentally splashing on the paint. She joined the guild a few months ago, learned, and now has five paintings in the current show. Striking in design and colour concept, her work presents a vivid and original interpretation.

“I paint from my heart” she says, and it shows.

France’s Art Deco movement from about 1920 to 1940 is inspiring the work of Ladner artist Jodie Blaney, whose paintings of the harbours and scenery of Ladner and Steveston have proved popular over several years. Rich colours, somewhat geometric forms and elegant curves show the careful design process of the artist, whose major influences continue to be Lawren Harris and Emily Carr.

Paint My World runs through April 19 at Gallery 1710 (1710-56th St., Tsawwassen). The gallery is open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.