Local talent will be on display in abundance at Owens Art Gallery for the next month.
More than three dozen artists from the Sackville and Amherst areas will be showing their work during the Sackville Art Association’s annual members exhibition, which kicked off this weekend at the Owens Art Gallery.
In the spotlight for the month-long exhibition will be Sackville’s Sharon Hicks, who has been selected as this year’s featured artist for the show.
Hicks, a member of the SAA since returning to her hometown eight years ago, will have 33 pieces featured in the show. From landscapes to still lifes and portraits, Hicks’ exhibit will cover more than three decades of her work.
“This is really special to me,” says Hicks of the honour.
Mostly self-taught as an artist, Hicks says she has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember.
“As soon as I could pick up a pencil, I was drawing little birds and things,” she says. “It’s just something I’ve always done.”
Hicks may have started with pencil sketches but as a teenager she began dabbling in oil paints. Later on, amidst her nursing career and her family life, she also found time to try out various other mediums – including watercolors, acrylic, pastels, and colored pencils (now her favourite) – while also taking a few art classes along the way.
“I’ve tried my hand at just about everything,” says Hicks, who grew up in Upper Sackville and has a particular affinity for the marsh landscapes of the area.
As well as being a member of the SAA, Hicks is also a life member of the Fredericton Society of Artists, where she resided for more than 30 years. Her work has been displayed in a number of exhibitions in Fredericton, Sackville and other parts of the Maritimes and her paintings hang in various collections across Canada and in the US. Since 2014, she has been commissioned to create pencil portraits of the inductees for the Sackville Sports Wall of Fame, an honour of which she is proud.
Hicks says portraits – she does both pets and people - all come with their own unique challenges, but she enjoys doing them, particularly delighting in the reactions of her customers who commission them.
She also is passionate about working with color, using the various shades to layer and add depth to her work, drawing people into the painting.
At 70, Hicks says she is still driven to take on new challenges and continue to learn as an artist.
“I think it’s something a person is born with,” she says. “You have a drive, an instinct, an urge to try and interpret things. It’s just something that, for me, has always been there.”
The annual exhibition, which opened Sunday, Nov. 17 and runs until Dec. 15, will also display the works of 36 other SAA members. The exhibition will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and 3-5 p.m. on weekends.
The Sackville Art Association, which has members in both Westmorland and Cumberland Counties, was founded in 1935 and has since provided programs for the public, workshops for artists, shows of members' art, annual bursaries, and support of art instruction in schools in Sackville and in Amherst.