Sheila Allen, Elizabeth Harris-Nichols, Jean Garnett

Coral and hematite necklace by Sheila Allen

I was at the University Women’s Club of Vancouver to attend  the opening show of two artists Elizabeth Harris-Nichols and Jean Garnett. In addition, Sheila Allen showed a selection of her elegant jewelry made from precious, semi-precious stones and silver. The gallery is in the upstairs hallway of Hycroft mansion that has been beautifully restored by the members of the UWCV. It’s an gracious setting for intimate showings.

E. Harris-Nichols “Cherry Blossom Tree

Elizabeth Harris-Nichols grew up in the Peace River District, studied art at Grand Prairie College and later, at Emily Carr College of Art and Design. In the selection for this exhibition, she shows several portraits in oil on canvas and life drawings with graphite on paper heightened with chalk pastel. “Ruth”, “Alley” and “Lidia” are painted in a direct manner with lively colour. “Lidia”. a portrait of a child, head only, is my favorite amongst them with a palette of blues and greys and a composition that crops the head closely.

Her graphite studies of heads done at the Downtown East Side Carnegie Centre show attention to detail. “Nude Study #1” is a fresh line drawing of a seated figure. It has good proportions and a composition that works well, thanks to the crisp blocked in areas of chalk pastel.

J. Garnett “Net Shed” Paper collage with mixed media

Jean Garnett began late in her business career to dabble in the arts and found it so enriching that it became a main focus of her activities. While she has worked in several media, this show is about collage with an oriental flavour. She uses delicate Japanese printed papers cut very precisely to weave patterns and adding bits of beads, gold paint and other decorative elements to her designs. Several of the images are created in the form of stylized Kimonos. Other works are totally abstract with a strong design flavor. Two were more illustrative, one a picture depicting a Japanese Lantern, the other, an Oriental sailing boat.

These works need to be taken in the ensemble of collaged image plus frame, the latter being an essential to the display of these exquisitely crafted images.

Sheila Allen designs make the most of the natural qualities of the stones. Her work has a quiet elegance, which was much appreciated by the opening show crowd. Twenty pieces, an assortment of necklaces, bracelets and earrings, remain on display during the current month.

Hycroft – home of the University Women’s club, 1489 McRae Avenue, Vancouver, houses the gallery upstairs in long corridor.

J. Garnett’s web page is at:

E. Harris-Nichols web page is at:

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