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VIDEO: A black and white portrait of Langley councillor wins B.C. portrait artist of the year award

Winner of Langley Arts Council contest praised ‘phenomenal’ subject
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Artist Leo Recilla (foreground) worked on a portrait of Langley Township CCouncillor Bob Long at the Langley Arts Council-hosted B.C. wide portrait and live painting competition held at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre on Sunday, Feb. 27. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

A black-and-white portrait of Langley Township Councillor Bob Long made with India ink won the B.C.-wide portrait and live painting competition hosted by the Langley Arts Council at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre on Sunday, Feb. 27.

It was the work of Burnaby’s Leo Recilla, one of nine artists who created portraits of three sitters – Long, local musician Darryl Klassen, of J.D. Miner, and Langley City Councillor Rosemary Wallace – who stayed in their seats for four hours.

Recilla described Long as a “phenomenal” subject.

“I know it can be uncomfortable to have to sit still for as long as possible, let alone have different sets of eyes constantly looking up and down at him, but he did a great job and was very patient with us artists,” Recilla told the Langley Advance Times.

Recilla said it was his first time taking part in an art competition.

“I was hesitant to join, but I’m glad I did, and grateful to be selected with the other eight artists who are masters at their craft. They are all very talented so I was stunned when I heard my name as the winner.”

An artist applied finishing touches to a portrait of musician Darryl Klassen at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre on Sunday, Feb. 27. Langley Arts Council held a B.C. wide portrait and live painting competition. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
An artist applied finishing touches to a portrait of musician Darryl Klassen at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre on Sunday, Feb. 27. Langley Arts Council held a B.C. wide portrait and live painting competition. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Recilla said he’s been drawing since he was a child, “and even after I took a break from art to work full time, I’ve always known I wanted to keep making art. I can’t pinpoint what exactly inspired me to become an artist, but I’ve always had a drive to keep honing my skills.”

For winning first, Recilla took home $100 cash, a $100 Opus Art Supplies gift card, and $25 Downtown Langley Business Association bucks.

READ ALSO: Langley youth to get more opportunities as art council receives a generous donation

Opus Art Supplies provided the cards as a sponsor, so did the Downtown Langley Business Association, and Kroma Artist’s Acrylic, who supplied the paints. Opus provided the other mediums.

Arts Council executive director Claire Sarfeld said each of the models had the option of taking home “one painting of their choice.”

Langley City councillor Rosemary Wallace was one of three sitters at the B.C. wide portrait and live painting competition held by Langley Arts Council at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre on Sunday, Feb. 27. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Langley City councillor Rosemary Wallace was one of three sitters at the B.C. wide portrait and live painting competition held by Langley Arts Council at the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre on Sunday, Feb. 27. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

The three artists whose work was selected by their sitters will have a group exhibition with the arts council next year; Recilla, Lalita Hamill, and Martin Murphy.

READ ALSO: Artist who discovered his Indigenous heritage at 60 among talent at Langley exhibition

The council’s 2022 Portrait Artist of the Year Competition was inspired by the television show, Landscape Artist of the Year Canada, which brings together the country’s professional and amateur artists in a battle of the brushes to decide the best artist.

Alongside the live painting event on Sunday, spectators were be able to view other portrait artists in the exhibition hall.

More images from the event can be viewed online at the Langley Advance Times Facebook page.


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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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