On the face of it, it seems like an “Odd Couple” scenario.
Painters Elizabeth Hollick and Linda Pearce have such contrasting personalities and artistic styles that one might think them getting together to paint once a week might be a source of conflict.
Instead, both artists say they’re enjoying what Hollick calls a “light-hearted, lively diversion.”
That the chemistry of their sessions has been abundantly fruitful will be seen at a glance at their upcoming art exhibit, Linda and Liza: Painting Plenty, which opens Friday evening for three days at Semiahmoo Arts’ Centennial Park gallery.
“We call it Painting Plenty because she’s painted plenty of fruits and vegetables and I’ve painted plenty of flowers and pots,” laughed Pearce.
Nearly two years ago, the pair began getting together each Friday morning to paint side-by-side for hours, either at Pearce’s Ocean Park condo or Hollick’s White Rock condo.
“We start with a cup of coffee and get right down to it,” Hollick said. “The first part is planning and moving things around, then we have lunch, and then we focus in on painting.”
Neither one discusses the work much, she added – at least not until they have celebratory glass of wine at the end of the day.
“The last three-quarters of an hour is really exciting – that’s when we have to pull what we’re painting together,” Hollick said. “There’s no competition. We totally accept each other as we are, and we’re glad the other person is comfortable being who they are.”
Pearce had initiated the invitation to her colleague to join her at a time when Hollick had closed her studio – her now-late husband, Mike, had gone into a serious health decline, and their hillside home was on sale.
Pearce had some qualms about how it would work, she admitted.
“Liza is a bouncy extrovert who enjoys the limelight and I’m a quiet introvert who doesn’t.”
But both have a love of colour and working directly from real objects – Hollick likes to prowl fruit and vegetable markets for examples that inspire her, while Pearce scours thrift stores for interesting vases and pots that will complement whatever blooms she has chosen.
And both like listening to the radio or recorded books while they work (Alexander McCall Smith and Bill Bryson are current favourites).
“It occupies the ‘think-too-much’ brain,” Pearce said.
And while Pearce’s meticulous impressionistic approach and Hollick’s bold and vivid simplification of form, shading and colour are still seemingly divergent, there is evidence that a little of each other’s approach has rubbed off.
Hollick’s current studies of chopped-up fruits and vegetables are showing increasing compositional organization, while Pearce acknowledges she is working on a faster, more spontaneous approach with her painting.
Pearce, who retired from her position as a kindergarten teacher at Martha Currie Elementary five years ago, said she has been re-exploring painting and drawing after years of finding a creative outlet through brightly coloured needlepoint works inspired by nature.
Opening reception for the exhibit is at 7 p.m. Friday at 14600 North Bluff Rd., with weekend hours 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.