It was only a few months ago that Saanich’s John Nip was preparing to hold a show for his traditional Chinese brush painting and calligraphy at Goward House.
It was in celebration of his 80th birthday, but he died on Oct. 1 before he could see it through.
However, the show will go on, as his wife Pauline and two painting groups are organizing the show, Love Affair, with between 80 and 100 of Nip’s art pieces on display from Feb. 24 to March 29 at Saanich’s Goward House.
Nip was 79 and a longtime resident of Saanich. He was a gentle but assertive teacher who led the traditional and highly revered Chinese brush painting for two clubs, one that met at Monterey Recreation Centre in Oak Bay and one at Goward House, a group called the Studio of Harmonious Endeavors.
“He was extremely warm and generous of his time, and many of us appreciated his candid comments as a teacher,” said Saanich’s Barb Mekelburg, a student who has helped organize the show following Nip’s death. “As a developing artist it was truly appreciated, his expertise is truly appreciated, you don’t progress without it.”
Monterey didn’t have the capacity to hold his many works, so Nip approached Goward House, which regularly holds shows. There will be a reception on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
Originally, Nip moved to Canada as a young man with wife Pauline from Hong Kong.
He was a businessman who kept his art separate but he was highly devoted to the passion. Nip’s calligraphy was recognized enough that he was commissioned by the Royal B.C. Museum for a piece related to the Chinese’s working role on the Trans-Canada railway. More recently, in his 70s, he was hired to do a 15-foot scroll for the Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church in his native Hong Kong.
“He had a very traditional approach…” said Arlene Davey, co-ordinator of Nip’s Monterey club group.
“We would gather around the table while he amazed us with his deft brushstrokes, colour mixing, flowing lines… When he had completed a piece, he would stare at it and then stare some more. We waited in hushed silence while he took the black ink and painted his famous beautiful characters down the side of the painting.
The Goward House is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, with more information online at gowardhouse.com.