Monday, September 22, 2008

Vancouver Island - Chemainus + Qualicum Beach

After we spent several hours at Butchart Gardens, we headed for Qualicum with a stop in Chemainus. Chemainus is a small seaside town that was going downhill with mills closing and not much happening. The very smart local govt. decided to do something about it. They decided to invite all artists to come and "decorate" many of the buildings in Chemainus with murals. Artists came from all over, and the murals are painted all over. Now they have tourists flocking to the place every spring, summer and fall to see the murals.

(The drive/view to Chemainus)

In Chemainus, you take a walk around with a written guide you pick up at the visitor's center, following the yellow footsteps painted on the sidewalks, reading the history of each mural. You can walk into the newer part of town or through a lovely park (where they were selling homegrown veggies, honey, crafts, etc., and a musician was performing on the stage) into the older part of the town.

We did a little of both but the older part was more interesting and had several artists studios - which we had to go into. I am so glad we did because we met Sheryl Sawchuk ( and got to view her gorgeous oils: large, macro flowers and plants and I fell in love with a painting and had to have a print of it (couldn't have gotten the painting in my luggage or paid the price of shipping so this was the easiest way). This painting makes me happy each time I see it. Sheryl called it an arbutus - we call it madrone. It is gorgeous!!! Check out her work and you'll be glad you did. Here's what I bought - matted and wrapped and ready to frame and hang.

And in the older part of town we also saw this little hobbit house - a B & B!! Wouldn't it be cute to walk inside and see what it looked like? It wasn't open, so we didn't knock, but I was tempted to see what type of person came to the door - a hobbit, a gnome, a fairy getting away from the forest? - I'll never know.

Then back to the car and on towards Qualicum Beach - our reason for going - to visit Susan M. And talk about a lovely setting and a warm and welcoming cottage! I loved it - the gardens are delicious, the house has cedar wood throughout and Susan was as lovely, welcoming, wonderful and friendly as I knew she would be. We both said it seemed we had known each other for years. We talked about Mohan, of course, and I learned more about their lives together - and met their 2 sons. And found out that Nigel is also a very good artist, doing work in pen and ink in a very distinctive way (more about that later).

So we spent several days at Willow Cottage, talking, eating, sight-seeing, and petting Teddy, Susan's big old teddy-bear of a chocolate lab. The first evening we drove down to see the sunset on "Mohan's Beach," and felt really welcomed and peaceful. I was so glad we came.

Susan and Jerry on Qualicum Beach at sunset.

Qualicum Beach, where Mohan would take his homemade pochade and paint his lovely watercolors.

And some of his paintings hanging on the walls of the house - many of those who were in online painting groups with Mohan will remember these.

More to come tomorrow, including Mohan's studio and the paintings there, downtown Qualicum Beach, and other interesting sights.


Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing Mohan's world with those of us who will likely never go there. I am so glad you had this opportunity. The photos are great and show in what a beautiful place he lived and interpreted so well in his pantings.

RHCarpenter said...

Glad you are enjoying them, Susan. More to come this evening and tomorrow. It's going to take me a week to share the time - but I know most of the artists in groups with Mohan really wanted to see his work, his workspace, etc.

Ann Buckner said...

It was both happy and sad to see Mohan's work. I didn't know him except through his work but always felt he was such a gentle person. Thanks for sharing more of his work and his world.

RHCarpenter said...

I hope you enjoyed seeing his paintings again, Ann :)