See our September to December 2020 issue of of the Arts Council of Ladysmith & District magazine! Check it out HERE

  • Meet our feature artist Karen Dance!

  • Check out our upcoming exhibitions!

  • New classes from pottery, mixed media, watercolor and social media!

Karen Sargent is a Canadian painter born and raised in Saskatchewan. She married and lived there with her husband while raising their family. In 2006, they moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia where she knew all her life, she needed to be.  After moving to Vancouver Island, she felt the urge to paint and explore her creativity. It was the kind of urge that stayed with her until she started painting in 2011. 

Ocean Waves Beckon

Karen is a self-taught artist using acrylic as her medium to create her beautiful realistic landscapes, nature inspired still life, and emotional abstracts. While learning and expanding her ability in each style, she has had to work without the ability to visualize in her mind the image she wanted to portray.  The condition, referred to as blind mind's eye, is known as aphantasia. Even with this hurdle she manages to create stunning pieces that have gone on to be featured in galleries, solo shows and win awards.  Her painting “Ocean Waves Beckon” won the Award of Excellence at the Sooke Fine Art Show in 2018

Karen strives to convey heartwarming emotions with her art. She depicts the vast and varied beautiful landscapes gifted to us by nature. Her realistic portraits of the West Coast, delicate floral and still life paintings are filled with her passion that can be felt through each detail she soulfully portrays.

She loves painting abstracts but can not force them. Karen often finds herself making her way to her studio to paint one of her seascapes, only to find her next abstract wanting to be painted. She allows her mind to break from detail and let the brush move the paint without restraints. Having aphantasia forces her to connect deep inside her being as she creates her abstracts, painting her emotions at that point in time.

Karen currently has three pieces of her abstract work in featured exhibition, Lost Lines. Her use of colours blending into one another creates moment and emotion. She explains her inspirations and thought process behind her featured work.


Was created while in a space filled with music, drowning out thoughts, allowing the paint to move on the canvas. Using acrylic flow paint, a pallet knife, and other tools, I created the movement and lines on the canvas.  This became the subject on the canvas for the viewer to interpret, the notes of emotion, heights of inspired spirit and the blending of sounds.  My abstracts come from a place deep within my being, it is a feeling or inner sense that guides me to choose the colours, brushes, or tools to use as I create.  



Acrylic ink was dropped on the canvas, and moved with the pallet knife, guided by intuition.  When creating without a visual, it becomes emotional as lines start to manifest.  This artwork represents changes in life, openings and closing that everyone encounters as they live each segment of their life.  The lines represent the constraints of life leaving openings that give way to hope and discover who they really are. Art has liberated my life and given me meaning and happiness.  


An emotional intuitive abstract that was painted in thin layers with acrylic paint. The colours were dragged along the canvas with a pallet knife.   Bright and bold colours represent the mountains we climb therein becoming stronger as we maneuver through life, standing the test of time. 

Join us in our online gallery for Lost Lines and explore work by Karen Sargent and other local west coast artists. Artwork can be purchased online. For more information on shipping costs etc, please visit

View more work by Karen:





Fiery Spirit

#canadianartist #vancouverisland #abstractpainter #westcoastartist #nanaimobc

Updated: Aug 22, 2020

François was exposed to the arts at a young age. He was first attracted to music and studied dance and improv movement for many years while also working in stained glass. Now a printmaker at BlueWave Studio in Nanaimo and the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery, his work explores movement, texture, mood and color through abstract shapes and plant material. He currently has three monoprints in our online exhibition, Lost Lines.

We asked François to tell us a little more about his journey as an artist.

I was born in Montreal, Qc. My father was a presentation designer (in those days they said, somewhat less glamorously, window dresser). I remember watching him draw and paint sale posters freehand and being amazed at the ease with which he could create beautiful numbers and letters. It was music that first attracted me, and I worked as a musician in my early 20’s.

In my late 20’s, a friend of mine taught me how to make stained glass, and soon I was coming up with my own designs for lamps and windows. I enrolled in the Glass Arts program at Le Centre des Métiers du Verre du Québec and studied the various ways of working with glass. Soon after completing the program, my partner and I moved to Vancouver where I found work in a glass studio. I also took several classes at the West Point Grey Pottery Studio. It was a great spot to get exposed to various styles of pottery, as the club members came from all over the world.

In the late 2000s, my interest in printmaking developed. I loved the immediacy of the medium compared to all the planning that had to go into glass work. In 2011 I took a linocut and a monotype workshop with Anne Jones in Nanaimo and I was smitten. I started going to her open studio regularly. Anne and Dorothy Friesen at the printmaking studio at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery have been enthusiastic guides in my development since then.

What I love about monotype printmaking is the spontaneity of the medium. It gives me the same freedom I enjoyed in improvised dance and music. And somehow (perhaps not surprisingly), the fascination for pattern and rhythm I pursued in music comes through in the prints that I make. In my earlier print work, I used abstract shapes that were superimposed to create patterns and rhythms. I would often try to build the image as a whole on the plate and print it in one go .

Often, what printmakers call the 'ghost' (the residual ink and pattern left on the plate after the print has been pulled), can provide the background for another print, by adding more material on the plate and running it through the press again.

Umbilical - Ribbon Series, 2019

For the past few years I have used plant materials gathered in the garden or near the studio in the same way. I love decaying or skeletal leaves and stalks. They become abstract elements that express nature's vitality, its intricate processes, and the cycles of decay and renewal.  While I feel a strong connection to the natural world, especially the plant world, I don't feel motivated to reproduce it as is. It's more about conveying energy than making a plant illustration.

I like to build layers on the same print by adding colours and patterns. I often work on several prints at once, moving back and forth, using the ghosts to either start a new print or add another layer to one already in progress. The piece Plenitude in the current online show is a collage of a few prints made that way.

Untitled - Grass Series, 2019

As a result of the Covid pandemic and the closure of the studios I went to, I have set up my own work space at home. Since I don't yet have a press, I've been working with a pin press, which is like a metal pastry pin that you roll with your hands directly onto the plate. It has forced me to work in a different way. I have been using mulberry paper, which is very thin and absorbs ink fully without much pressure. I can also take advantage of this paper's translucency to print on both sides and play with the effects this creates. This is taking me in a new direction. The pieces titled Beacon in the Sky and The Meeting Point in the online show are examples of this process, as is the print below.

Please join us in our online gallery to view François work in our current exhibition Lost Lines HERE. Artwork can be purchased online. For more information on shipping costs etc. please visit

View work by François of BlueWave Studio HERE

Mulberry Paper Print, 2020



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