SPRING STUDIO TOUR: Hunter is a slow-change artist

Caroline Hunter stands in her hallway with a few of her paintings

Caroline Hunter stands in her hallway with a few of her paintings

Dress designer-turned-landscape artist opening up home studio

In 1953, Caroline Hunter was a young dress designer working for a couturier in London.

“London was just coming out of the doldrums. Everything was being cleaned and painted. I saw fabric I’d never seen before,” she says.

But Hunter wanted to see the world and came to Canada, where she found work in the “Tall Girl” department of Eaton’s department store in Toronto. She returned to London after two years and met her husband, a Canadian engineer, and immigrated permanently to Canada.

Her creative talents then lay dormant for a good 50 years.

On a trip to Wales with her sister about 10 years ago, she remarked that she wished she could paint the landscapes they were walking through.

“My sister, who was six years older than me and a bit bossy, said ‘For heaven’s sake, Caroline, just do it,’” Hunter recalled in her Island Road home.

So she did. At first on her own and then through lessons with Ann Hunter (no relation), Brian Simons and Catherine Moffat, Hunter built up her skills, both in watercolour and acrylic.

Today her work hangs in Oak Bay municipal hall, as well as at the Delta Ocean Pointe hotel. She’s shown in the Sidney fine arts show and the Community Arts Council. She belongs to six art clubs and often paints en plein air with the Victoria Sketch Club.

But this weekend the public can meet Caroline and view her landscapes, which range from Nanoose Bay to southern France.

Recreation Oak Bay’s spring artists’ studio tour happens this Saturday and Sunday (April 16 and 17) from noon to 4:30 p.m. It’s the third year Hunter has been on the tour.

“It’s so much fun,” she says. “People come through – a lot are painters and some are just curious about you.”

The tour includes 26 artists who work in such mediums as watercolour, acrylic, oil, fibre, photography, woodcut, glass and clay.

A jury selects the artists for the tour, now in its 12th year. Brochures with artist details and a map are available at Oak Bay recreation centres, the municipal hall, the Monterey library, at selected businesses and online at www.recreation.oakbay.ca.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com