Linnyland

By Christine Clark, May 2012

Creating perfect moments comes naturally to Linny D. Vine.

In Linnyland everything is golden. The skies are blue, the clouds are puffy, white and pretty, existing only as a metaphor. The cherry blossoms float, if cotton candy can float, in mounds above the gentle streets. The maple trees are always dressed in autumnal reds, casting soft, rich shadows across quaint corners. The houses and little store fronts curve radically inwards and outwards, welcoming and friendly. The few people around are pleasantly preoccupied, strolling alone or with a friend, looking into shop windows, or riding bikes fast and furious, kid-like. 

Linnyland is the childhood we all want to remember. Walking through the warm air, on the way through the neighbourhood, on our way home, on our way to see friends, just on our way; outdoors, with the sun low in the horizon and the breeze on our cheeks and our lives radiant with peace and love and joy. Like Christmas morning on a late summer afternoon. A perfect moment. 

Linnyland is a place of adventure, freedom and happiness. It’s an escape from the world. So says Linny. Linny D. Vine that is. A golden girl if ever there was such a girl. “People kept asking me how to explain …[my style of painting]. So I started calling it Linny-ism,” which is how Linnyland came to be known. 

“It’s a different way of looking at the world. There’s rhythm, there’s colour. It’s a place you want to go. I’m fortunate. It’s the way I see things. I’m a realist and I know the world is not all beautiful. It’s a balance of joy and sorrow. I’m a big believer in feeling everything, but I love to strive for happiness. I always say that’s all we have, and as we age it’s more apparent. When I paint, that’s what comes out. I’m not the tortured artist.”

The first time I saw Linny, standing amongst a crowd of gallery-goers, all there to see her two-person show with Jeffrey J. Boron (her life partner of 18 years) at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, she stood out like a beacon; her hair, the amber beads around her neck, her leggings, all golden against the chorus of dark outerwear the rest of us usually wear as an ode to the endless grey of early spring. 

Years ago, while receiving Worker’s Compensation after suffering a knee injury during her first career as a letter carrier, Linny redirected her focus and began a 12-year career as a goldsmith, spending the first four years as an apprentice in Vancouver (where she grew up) and then out in Haney. Jewellery-making influenced her current pallette, she says, but as an art form “it was limited. There was a definite idea for the end product. When I’m painting, one brush stroke can influence the direction [of the work]—if I don’t struggle and fight against it.” 

Linny and her partner Jeffrey, whose work is described as Canadian West Coast Impressionism and who is currently the Resident Artist at Ross Place Retirement Home, share their home and studio in a lovely little space overlooking the ocean in Esquimalt. Their easels are placed in opposite corners of a single room. She remarks that “we find the positive in each other’s work. We support each other,” but without undue influence and, indeed, their work is very different and consequently something of a testament to their equality as artists and as people. 

Since beginning to paint seriously nearly 10 years ago, Linny, a largely self-taught artist, has been able to gradually phase out all other work as a source of income (work which in later years, after her retirement from gold, included a long stint as a designer of Japanese-style gardens). She says that “it takes courage to close one door and feel committed.” She’s right, but it helps when, as an artist, your work sells. And Linnyland sells. 

“I always created with a pen and paintbrush, all the way since I was a kid. As a kid I was probably happy painting houses and kids and animals…similar themes. As an adult I tried to straighten up the lines, but the curves just kept coming back. So I just kept going with it and people liked it and that’s the wonderful part.” 

Linny has collectors across the US, Canada and Europe. She is represented in galleries across Canada, and has been since the dawn of her career, thanks in part to her web presence. She is often commissioned to create paintings specifically designed for her collectors. For instance, someone might want a Linnyland version of their own home or neighbourhood to present as a gift to a spouse. “I’m approachable because my work is approachable. It’s friendly work…People will often tell me about how my art makes them feel; they want to live in it.”

Beginning May 1 at She Said Gallery in Fernwood, Linny will be presenting a new series of oil paintings called “From A to Izzard in Linnyland.” This is a collection of 26 images based on the alphabet. For instance, A is for Afternoon Adventure, while E stands for Elvis; every work is a product of pure imagination, purely Linny, straight from Linnyland, and quite charming. Enjoy!

 

Opening reception for “From A to Izzard in Linnyland” at She Said Gallery, 2000 Fernwood Rd, May 6 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. See more of Linnyland at www.linnydvine.com and at www.shesaidgallery.ca.

Christine Clark is a Victoria-based artist who writes about artists in Victoria and beyond. See her blog at http://artinvictoria.com.