Ask artist Linda Wagner how long it took her to do a particular painting on display at the Squamish Public Library gallery, and she smiles and says, "almost 80 years."
Wagner's "Coastal Waters" Opening Reception is on Saturday, Oct. 22nd, at the Foyer Gallery in the library lobby.
This latest showing features 12 oil paintings depicting seaside scenes along the B.C. coast.
Wagner grew up in Courtenay - Comox, and she and her husband are avid sailors.
Thus this familiarity with the coast and sea is depicted in pieces on display.
Wagner, who has lived in Squamish for about 18 years, is a lifelong artist.
"I am heavily influenced by the Group of Seven. I've been painting all my life. I'm what you call a lifer," she said.
She began painting at 14 when an illness kept her sidelined.
"I had mono really badly, and my mom bought me some paints. And that is where it sort of started," she said.
After a career in nursing, at 30, she studied art at Capilano college.
"[I] really enjoyed it and was really interested in landscape painting, which I did for several years and became a professional — which means that you're selling your work and galleries — in my early 40s.”
She has exhibited in several places, including on Vancouver Island and in West Vancouver, Calgary and Kelowna.
After what she calls a "flamboyant journey of just doing whatever I felt like," including colourful abstracts, she has immersed herself in landscape painting.
"Now, being almost 80 years old, I'm thinking, 'You are a landscape artist, Linda.' So that's what I've been doing in the last year," she said.
While sailing in their 37-foot Arcona sailboat from Sweden — the only one of its kind in Canada, Wagner said — she sketches what she sees, and some of these sketches later become her paintings.
While a lifetime of experience goes into her work, each painting takes about 10 hours to complete, she said.
In terms of details in the beach scenes, note the dynamic skies in each painting. They are of particular importance to Wagner.
She points to a A.J. Casson sky in her painting, From Rebecca's Spit, which, as its title suggests, looks out from the narrow hook of land on the east side of Quadra Island.
This is her favourite painting of the current series, Wagner said.
"I'm really trying to get a lot more activity in my skies," she said, running her hand across the sky in the painting. “And I'm also working on greys and gradations."
See Wagner's "Coastal Waters" now at the Foyer Gallery at the entrance to the Squamish Public Library.
The Opening Reception is Saturday, Oct. 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m,
Find out more on the gallery's website.