The above picture is a sketch by George Thornton Sharpe, Entitled "Crofton" dated 6.9.55
History of the Crofton Art Group
In researching the beginnings of the Crofton Art Group I had the pleasure to peruse a stack of photo albums stored in a cupboard at the Crofton Seniors Centre. They contained bits and pieces of photos, cards and cut outs from newspapers covering the last 65 years the groups existence.
While it would be easy to let these just sit in that cupboard and collect dust, I felt that someone might be interested in reading about the history our group.
So here we go, hopefully I can encapsulate the essence of the years for our members and for you, the reader.
How we started
The following is a direct quote:
"We are the oldest art group in the Cowichan Valley having been founded in 1954 by Mrs. Eloise Kearney. Eloise came to Crofton at the end of the Second World War from England with her husband, a retired merchant marine captain.
The first sessions of the group were held in the members' homes and it was a good time enjoyed by a few of the local artists as they shared their expertise with one another.
Eloise had studied art at the Pratt Institute in New York and in 1957 they moved to Louisville, Ky. where Eloise taught art. She kept in touch with the Crofton Art Group and had the local newspaper sent to Louisville to keep abreast with the current doings of the group.
Eloise felt such a deep connection to her budding art club she returned to visit staying with Mrs. Worsley, Mrs. Long and Mrs. Standley who helped comprise the beginnings of what is today's talented group of local artists.
While members' homes were convenient and cozy the group outgrew those venues and eventually needed a permanent meeting place. The Anglican Church Hall in Crofton was their headquarters with a future move to the Seniors Centre at the foot of Joan Avenue, near the ferry terminal, in downtown Crofton. "
The story of Eloise and her dedication in starting the Crofton Art Group really struck a cord in me and I had to see if I could find out more about her.
Searching the web wasn't all that helpful in finding more concrete information about her past nor future after she left Crofton and moved to Louiseville, Ky. Oh, there was the odd bit and piece but nothing that I could say was "our" Eloise.
And then just when I was about to give up the search I found this odd little note about a book written by Joan Margaret Fleming Illustrated by Eloise Q. Kearney. Published in 1946 by Hammond, Hammond & Co. Ltd. located on 87 Goer Street,, W.C.1, London, England. The book's title is "The Riddle of The River". On the back of the jacket it states Eloise did illustrations for another of Joan's books called "Button Jugs".
I ordered a copy of "The Riddle of the River" through Amazon and waited almost four weeks for its delivery. What a sad little thing it is! The jacket is threadbare, the inside shows evidence that there must have been a note subsequently erased, the book cover has curled corners and worn lovingly around the edges and the pages have mellowed to the colour of warmed honey. It has the smell of musty dust.
Here are just a few pictures from the book.
George Thornton Sharpe
Above is a photo of the cover of the album that contains some 15 sketches by George Thornton Sharp.
Written on the inside page of the album is the following note: ".......In 1954 he was instrumental in founding the Crofton Art Group with Mrs. Eloise Kearney as the first teacher. ......" The rest of the notation can be read in the slideshow below.
There is nothing to identify the author of the note.
I think its deeply wonderful, sad, endearing and poignant that someone took the time to put together the album and write the short missive about George Thornton Sharp.
Below we have included a slideshow of The Book of Sketches by George Thornton Sharpe. Enjoy!!
We Turned 65
In terms of birthdays, this was a big one!
The following is an excerpt and quoted from the Chemainus Valley Courier dated Thursday, May 9, 2019. Volume 11, Number 47, Article written by Don Bodger
The Crofton Art Group is one of those rare organizations that has stood the test of time.
It's coming up to 65 years since the formation of the group and it's still going strong today, thanks to its 45 dedicated members who are excellent artists in their own right and great companions for one another.
"What our group is the best at we encourage each other," said Mary Oscar, who's been a member since the late 1980's. "We've been a really good social club."
"The one thing I like about our group when we get someone new, no matter what the calibre of their painting, we encourage them very much," added Le Roach, another member for 30+ years.
"I think my painting has improved with the guidance of everyone else," said Diana Binks, one of the more recent members within the group.
.................................................... And the article goes on from there.
The Picture in the Picture
The artwork in front of the members pictured in the article was made available as a door prize at the anniversary show and sale. It was done by Carol Rettig, who passed away in March of that year.
Crofton Art Group and the Municipality of North Cowichan Street Banners
As part of the rejuvenation of downtown Crofton in 2018, the Municipality of North Cowichan added new lamp standards with arms for banners.
The Crofton Art Group was turning 65 in 2019 and as a thank you to the town of Crofton for their support over the years , members volunteered to paint a representative of Crofton to put on a banner.
There are 32 banners all together. North Cowichan provided a grant to cover the cost of having the banners printed.
The volunteers of the Crofton Fire Department generously agreed to hang them for us.
As submitted by: Sue Bosecker
Please enjoy the slide show of the banners created by members of the Crofton Art Club and installed on the light standards along Joan Avenue in downtown Crofton.