Watercolour and crayon
©2016 Charlene Brown
The latest artist studio tour for our fundraising group from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria was to Gabriola Island, about a twenty-minute ferry ride from the up-island city of Nanaimo. As always we visited several fascinating and productive (and idyllically-situated) workspaces – two of which are included in the mix in this painting.
The Entrance Island lighthouse off the northern tip of Gabriola, has been there since 1876. Situated so close to Nanaimo, it has watched over thousands of boaters and kayakers, and for many years the annual flotilla of bathtubs in a race to Vancouver. The lighthouse keepers have rescued many in distress, regularly saving lives over the years, and the boating community, in turn, keeps its eye on the lighthouse. In 1995 when it was announced that Entrance Island might lose its keepers, more than 100 kayakers, in an act of protest, formed a ‘human life preserver’ around the island. Since then, almost every newly-elected Provincial and Federal government has included this integral part of the Gabriola Island community in their budget-cutting plans... but the lighthouse keepers carry on.