Works of talented local artists on display in downtown gallery

A gallery in the Sylvan Lake and Area Community Partners’ Association building displays the work of talented local artists

Sylvan Lake artist Jim Clark shows off his work inside the Art Around the Lake gallery Jan. 7.

A gallery in the Sylvan Lake and Area Community Partners’ Association building displays the work of talented local artists, and remains something of a hidden gem in town, according to Arts Around the Lake gallery co-ordinator Ingrid Soanes.

About 100 framed and colourful artistic oil and acrylic canvas paintings are housed inside the gallery, where they’re displayed for the entire community to see.

But Soanes said some Sylvan Lakers aren’t aware of the gallery’s existence, and therefore aren’t able to fully appreciate the artistic talent the town and surrounding area has to offer.

“We don’t sell a lot of pieces,” she said. “Not many people know about the gallery, unless they are walking by and notice our sign outside.”

Soanes manages and sells the art pieces — many of which feature recognizable landmarks such as the old lighthouse.

“A lot of the artists paint pictures of Sylvan Lake — of what it used to look like, and historical pictures and stuff you won’t ever see again,” she said.

Jim Clark, a retired land surveyor, is among the local artists whose work is displayed inside the gallery. Clark has been painting oil canvases for over 30 years, and currently has about 30 of his paintings on display and for sale inside the gallery.

He paints every day, and said the excitement it creates gives him something of a high.

“The thing with painting is it’s problem solving,” he said. “You want to take your viewer on a journey. It’s a little story.”

Clark completes his paintings in Calgary and Sylvan Lake. Upon finishing each one, he’s always left with a strong sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and achievement. But the majority of the hard work happens away from the canvas, he feels.

“It takes more time to concoct something in your mind than it does to paint the photo,” he said.

His paintings take anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks to complete, and often stem from a mental sketch.

Clark sells about one or two paintings a month, but making money isn’t his priority. Instead, he’s driven by interest.

“You have to practice to be good,” he said.

The Arts Around the Lake gallery is located in the Community Partners building on 50 Ave., and is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.