Passion and emotion for art
Al Seymour held an exhibit of his art as part of his 85th birthday celebrations last year. Arranged on the sly by his daughter, Lisa Pace, she then made a proposal that surprised him even further: they could hold a show together.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we do a daddy/daughter show?’ I’d never had an exhibit before, but I was always so intrigued by my father’s artwork. He gave me the inspiration to try and paint myself,” she said.
The birthday boy ran with the idea. Their collection of 40 works, Passing the Art Torch, opens at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art tomorrow.
The show is dedicated to his second wife, Shirley, who died last December but “was very supportive of [his] artwork throughout the years”.
“The adventures of art began with me at Central School, now Victor Scott,” said Mr Seymour, a former art teacher, cartoonist and journalist. “It was from that early exposure, even though all the material that is around today, wasn’t available.
“I just learnt from any books I could get my hands on. It ignited my excitement and is the foundation of where my artistic instincts developed.”
He sketched on everything. His schoolbooks became so covered with his drawings that teachers didn’t have to look for his name to identify whose they were.
It’s a passion he passed on to his daughter. “From a child, I loved to draw,” Mrs Pace said. “My mother, Barbara, was creative as well, but I was very fascinated when I watched my daddy draw. He was very good with portraits. I would look at him in amazement.”
Although she never lost interest, for a while she “didn’t draw so much”. She picked up her brushes again in the early Nineties when she started using acrylics. “And then, of course, I stopped.”
In the meantime, however, she created a cartoon character, Oscar the Onion, ultimately producing colouring books, T-shirts and a children’s book.
Her second in the series will soon be out, but at the moment, she is focused on tomorrow’s opening.
Mrs Pace has selected twenty of her acrylics for her first exhibit; her father will show an equal number of oils, watercolours, charcoals and pencil sketches.
“I am a bit nervous, but I decided to just go for it,” said the newlywed, who is appreciative of the support she has received from her husband, James, and her children, Darren and Daneisha.
“I managed to take the time out to paint — I would get up at 6am. We have all new pieces in the show,” she said. “To me, art is a passion and also emotional. You can be depressed or happy; painting takes you to a different world once your brush hits the canvas.”
Mr Seymour said he made a point of not instructing his daughter despite having worked as an art teacher for several decades.
“Art is the language of the soul. With any kind of culture, it’s about how people identify different forms and expressions of art. I wanted it to come from her,” he said.
Mrs Pace, who is self-taught, gets her inspiration from within.
“I like to draw out of my mind as opposed to using a reference,” she said. “I never went to any art classes. It’s just a natural talent.
“The beauty of art is that it’s in the eye of the beholder. One person may not like a particular piece, but another comes along and thinks it’s wonderful.
“I’m really looking forward to [the exhibit]. I’m very excited. It’s open to the public and I would encourage the public to come and have a look at our work.”
• Passing the Art Torch opens tomorrow and runs through October 1 at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
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