St. Patrick’s Day will be a festive occasion on Salt Spring this year, with a March 17 exhibition opening that gives viewers a unique window into Ireland’s past.
Many Canadians will recognize featured artist Will Millar as the original leader of the world renowned musical group The Irish Rovers. The event promises to be a fun evening of music, stories and laughter, as Millar supplements the viewing of his oil paintings with song.
The paintings depict the beloved Ireland of Millar’s childhood as well as scenes from his adopted Canada. They have reached an appreciative world audience through the online gallery IrishArtPlus and Winchester Gallery in Victoria.
“An old Irish artist and mentor of mine told me, ‘Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.’ I draw my inspiration from old songs, stories and memories from my early days in Ireland,” Millar explained.
Millar and his wife have lived in a restored farmhouse in the Cowichan Valley area for the past 20 years, where he’s produced a large body of work at his sunny lakeside studio. He’s also made regular visits to his birth country since moving to Canada many decades ago, but it’s the Ireland of his childhood that provides most of his source material.
The show opens Friday, March 17 with an opening event from 5 to 8 p.m. Millar has many musician friends on the island and expects a visit from Harry Warner and perhaps some other guests as well. Though no one should expect a full concert, music will certainly be part of the event.
“I invite people to come by, have a pint or two, and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We’ll sing a few Irish songs and see some Irish art,” Millar said.