Members of the Easel Weasels took part in the weekend workshop run by Susie Cipolla. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Weasely weekend workshop comes to Prince Rupert

Artist guild Easel Weasels welcome a special artist for their bi-annual brush up

The rehearsal room at the Lester Centre played host to a special arts workshop this week as members of the local group Easel Weasels welcomed Susie Cipolla to Prince Rupert.

The artist guild, formed in 1998 by a group of 10 people working at the hospital, has since grown to a few dozen members. Twice a year, with grant funding from the Prince Rupert Community Arts Council, the group invites a teacher from the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) to town for a weekend workshop.

The Easel Weasels filled the Lester Centre’s rehearsal room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. over the weekend. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

This fall’s teacher — the 40th the Easel Weasels have welcomed in the past two decades — was Susie Cipolla, a senior signature member of the FCA. Cipolla is well known for her landscape and wildlife paintings, along with boats and cars. She had her class undertaking many of these themes over the weekend.

“This is a bootcamp class,” Cipolla said about her course, which ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. (Food and drink was provided by members of the group.)

Cipolla currently lives in Pemberton, where she operates her own studio. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“I’m doing a whole series of exercises to challenge them with different surfaces to paint on, using different tools, glazing, using acrylic paint, just to do things that they didn’t know they could do,” Cipolla explained. “I’m hoping that after this class they will take some of these new techniques and incorporate them into the paintings that they make on their own.”

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These exercises included timed paintings, putting paint to canvas without using a paintbrush, pieces with stroke limits and more. Cipolla says she does this to keep things fresh after feeling the desire to shake up her classes.

“I just love it, and everytime I teach it it’s different. I add new exercises, I change the exercises based on the feedback from previous classes, and try and tailor it to each individual class,” she said.

Cipolla checks in on one of the Weasels. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Cipolla carefully fills a quadrant of Volkswagen Beetles. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Robin Knox is a member of the Easel Weasels. She said the workshop put an exciting new spin on the activity.

“It’s very freeing to just do exercises instead of having to produce this master painting on the first day of a workshop,” Knox explained. “She’s [Cipolla] got us doing all kinds of different things, and we’re doing small things fast.”

Animals were a big theme over the weekend. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

The Easel Weasels will now be taking their new skills back to their weekly group meetings at the Cornerstone Mennonite Brethren church. Anyone interested in participating can stop by on Monday nights from 7:30-10:30 p.m.

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Alex Kurial | Journalist
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