Saturday Studio

Launching Saturday Studio at Home - staying connected through art!


Saturday Studio - July & August 2020


Saturday Studio at Home!

Hello Saturday Studio families! We miss having you join us in Art Lab to create artworks and explore our exhibitions, but we will continue to connect, inspire, and create with you through Saturday Studio at Home. We have archived our weekly Saturday Studio sessions, just click on the link below and you can choose an activity that interests you.

We are excited to open the gallery doors and welcome you to our exhibition Small Gatherings which runs from July 24 to August 29. This is not only the first exhibition at the gallery since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, but it is also the first exhibition in our 2020/2021 inquiry What moves?

Click here to find out more about Small Gatherings, gallery hours and tours.

We are excited to share the work in this exhibition with you so every Saturday we will feature the work of one of the artists in Small Gatherings to inspire our investigations and creative activities. Through emails, Art Lab, Facebook, and Instagram we can stay in touch, share ideas and artwork!


Featured Artwork for August 22

Sara Robichaud, Brushwork (2019) and Vanitas (2017), acrylic & graphite on canvas. Photograph by Sean Fenzl.

Sara Robichaud is a Nanaimo-based painter and art instructor. Her works are usually presented in contemporary art galleries, but through the project An Unapologetic Affair she brought her art practice directly into her domestic life. Robichaud transformed her 100-year-old South Nanaimo home into an installation where paintings evolved in relation to collections of objects, shifts in light, and the ongoing influences of family and visitors. In the summer of 2017 the artist hosted a series of gatherings, inviting members of the community into her house to interact with both the space and the artworks. 

Investigate together!

Let’s look closely at Sara Robichaud’s work to better understand what we see. In her paintings Brushwork (2019) and Vanitas (2017) we notice shapes of household objects: hair brushes, mirrors, bottles, and more. Some of the shapes might not be familiar to us but we get the sense that these forms could belong to any number of items that might sit on our shelves and tables. The painter is very thoughtful with her colours and makes use of only a few at a time, and she chooses special paints like shiny gold and reflective silver. She is careful to leave areas of unpainted canvas exposed too so our attention is also given to the surface she is working on.

What objects are in your bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom? Did you choose them or did someone else put them there? Are there stories and memories attached to these everyday things? 


Saturday, August 22 ~ Shadow Drawings


1. Lamp

2. Pencil
3. Cardboard
4. Tape that is safe for your wall (painter’s or masking tape is suggested)
5. Household objects (your pick!)
6. Oil Pastels
7. Paint markers (optional)

What to do:

1. Tape your cardboard to the wall, then plug in your lamp and point it at the cardboard. Select an object and place it between the cardboard on the wall and the lamp, making sure to move it around to examine the shadows that it creates. When you like the shadow that is casted trace its outline in pencil. Continue tracing the shadows of different objects until you feel like your composition is full.

2. Use oil pastels to colour in your shapes. Use one colour per empty space. Don’t be afraid to leave some areas of the cardboard surface uncoloured for a little variety.

3. OPTIONAL: use your paint markers in selected areas of your composition. Maybe it’s a small area of a traced shadow, or maybe you place it on top of some of your flat colours. Your choice! 

Share with us! Email your work to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tag us on social media #artlabnanaimo for a chance to be featured on our channels!

Have fun, stay connected and stay safe!   

Featured Artwork for August 15

Sheri Bakes, Bramwell’s Garden, oil on canvas, 2015. Photograph by Sean Fenzl.

Sheri Bakes, Bramwell’s Garden (detail), oil on canvas, 2015. Photograph by Sean Fenzl.

Sheri Bakes is a painter living and working in the Nanaimo region. Through a process of layering small dots of paint, akin to pointillism, she works to capture the energy and atmospheric motion of a scene. As an admirer of the former conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, she began to wonder if the energy harnessed in conducting an orchestra could be akin to painting. While she knew that such a comparison would be difficult, when she found out that the maestro was also an avid gardener she thought that perhaps in a garden, a landscape of gathering care, these two creative energies might come together in a way that could be represented on canvas.

Investigate together!

Let’s look closely at the painting and describe what we see. Bakes uses a square canvas with lots of tiny dots of paint and big areas of colour. The canvas is so big that we feel like we are surrounded by it! The artist uses only a few colours and repeats them all over the surface: blue, green, yellow, white, orange. These colours remind us of being outside, of playing in the grass and looking up at the clouds in the sky. There is lots of movement in this painting too: the little dots of paint are up, down, and everywhere around! 

Sheri Bakes was inspired by the colours and shapes in Bramwell’s Garden and we can look outside and be inspired too. Which colours do you see when you go out for a walk, are they similar to what Bakes sees or are they different? What colours are present in the flowers, grasses, and trees?


Saturday, August 15 ~ Ever-Growing Installations

We are going to make installation art! An installation is a type of artwork that changes the entire room it is in and it is sometimes also called an ‘environment’. While Sheri Bakes used a canvas for her painting, our painting will be different because it is going to take over an entire wall! Our installation can be as big or small as we would like.


1. Watercolour paint, brush, and water (it’s OK if you don’t have watercolours! Markers or any other paint will work too.) 

2. Paper (a thicker kind like cardstock works best)  

3. Tape (choose a kind that won’t damage your wall like masking or painter’s tape) 

4. Pencil

5. Scissors


What to do:

1. Get out your watercolour paint and brush. Fill up entire pages of paper with colour and patterns. Think about the colours of the outdoors while you practice using your brush in different ways: use lots of water, then use only a little bit of water, make dots with your brush, or simply flood the page with as many colours as you can. Fill up as many pages as you feel and then set them aside to dry.
PS: when your pages are dry it helps if you put them under some heavy books to make the paper nice and flat! 

2. Find circular objects of different sizes in your home like soda cans, bowls, or rolls of tape. Trace these circles onto your dry watercolour paintings. 

3. Cut out the circles and place tape on the back of the paper, then stick the paper to the wall. Keep adding circles of different sizes and patterns until the wall is as full as you like!


Share with us! Email your work to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tag us on social media #artlabnanaimo for a chance to be featured on our channels!

Have fun, stay connected and stay safe! 

 Featured Artwork for August 8

Tiwuxiwulh Tyrone Elliott, A Contemporary Berry-Picker’s Purse, 2020. Photograph by Sean Fenzl.

Cedar weaving has been part of Tiwuxiwulh Tyrone Elliott’s lived experience since he was a small child. His mother, Violet Elliott, is a highly regarded weaver from the Snuneymuxw Nation, and his father Joe Elliott, who is from Quw’utsun, holds a wealth of knowledge about Cedar harvesting and native plants. Tyrone was taught to harvest Cedar at the age of five, and at thirteen he wove his first hat, but the act of gathering and sharing has been an inherent part of his work with Cedar from the very beginning. As he explains:

“I can speak to the special kind of community-building that Cedar weaving imparts. There is an extraordinary beauty in a group of First Nations people learning practices of their Ancestors, or sharing with a people or peoples that have been disconnected from their own Indigenous lands. I have never collected Cedar alone. My family has always gone as a unit, each and every one of us having our dedicated tasks.” 

Investigate together!

Cedar is Tiwuxiwulh Tyrone Elliott’s life practice. He has worked with Cedar since he was a little boy and he continues to deepen his understanding of it every day. The artist is careful to note how important his family is to his process and he says “I do not weave if I am not able to put the entirety of my being into my work.” He has created hats, skirts, capes, bags, baskets, and more with the same material and technique. Tiwuxiwulh Tyrone Elliott also uses buttons, shells, yarn along with the cedar in his work. 

Take a look at your own clothing: do you know what it is made of? Can you see the tiny weaving that makes up your shirt if you look closely? Who gave this clothing to you and where did it come from? Which colours are present in the fabric?


Saturday, August 8 ~ Home-Inspired Weavings

Look around your house to see what materials are available to use. This project features items that can be easily substituted or changed.


1. Scissors 

2. Tape 

3. Cardboard 

4. String, yarn, ribbon 

5. Buttons 

6. Plastic Bags or fabric (cut into strips) 

What to do: 

1. Cut small notches all around the top and bottom edges of the cardboard. Try and make them evenly spaced. Tape a piece of string to the cardboard. Wrap the string around the front and back of the cardboard, making sure to get the string into the notches that you cut in the first step. Tape the string to the cardboard when this step is complete. 

2. Now it’s time to weave! Get out your ribbon, yarn, plastic, and fabric strips. Use your materials one by one and work them over and under the string that is attached to the cardboard. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and it is best to experiment with different ways of weaving and tying.  

3. Look at your weaving. Is there anything you want to add or change? Do some parts need more materials or less? Add or remove items as desired. 

Share with us! Email your work to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tag us on social media #artlabnanaimo for a chance to be featured on our channels!

Have fun, stay connected and stay safe! 

Featured Artwork for August 1


Charlotte Zhang,
The Lining, video, 2018. Collection of Nanaimo Art Gallery, donation of the artist.

Charlotte Zhang is an artist from Nanaimo, working primarily in film and video. Her works are experimental portraits of friends and places that examine personal rituals and collective histories. The Lining is a video artwork which depicts a Los Angeles teen as they spend time with family, friends and lovers, seeking counsel through intimate gatherings.

Investigate together!

Charlotte Zhang uses the camera to discover more about people. Zhang records long shots that show people talking, singing, and doing other ordinary activities. Sometimes the video is quiet but other times it has loud music. We are invited to listen to people when they are alone together inside of their homes or cars. What activities do you do when you are with your family inside your home? What do you talk about with your caregivers when you are brushing your hair, cooking, watching TV, or playing? What does it look like to watch a video of yourself and your family?


Saturday, August 1 ~ Minute Long Movies

Video artworks are different from the movies you see on TV or in theatres. Artists may choose to use video for many reasons: to show how time passes, or to demonstrate how objects move, or to show us something that happens in real life or their imagination. Charlotte Zhang’s film The Lining is like a portrait: you learn about her friend through seeing activities in their everyday life.


1. Ask a caregiver to help you find a camera or any device that has a camera: a cell phone, laptop, tablet, etc. 

What to do:

1. Invite someone in your home to do an activity with you. Does grandpa need help with the dishes? Does your sibling want to make a drawing with you? Do your parents need help styling their hair?

2. Pick a place to set up your camera. Make sure that you are in the frame so the camera can capture your activity. Do you want the camera to be very close to you or across the room?

3. Press record and let the camera shoot video for one full minute.

4. Watch your video! 

What does it feel like to watch yourself do an activity with someone else? Did you speak about anything together? Does it look like you thought it would? Did you look at the camera while it recorded or did you try to pretend it wasn’t there? Did you like where you placed the camera or do you want to move the camera and try again? What do different activities look like when they are filmed?

Share with us! Email your video to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tag us on social media #artlabnanaimo for a chance to be featured on our channels!

Have fun, stay connected and stay safe! 


Saturday Studio at Home - July 25, 2020 ~ Gathering Curiosities and Stories

Saturday Studio at Home - July 4 – July 18, 2020

Saturday Studio at Home - June 6 – June 27, 2020

Saturday Studio at Home - April 4 – May 2, 2020


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