Large crowds at Daly House Museum on a stormy Saturday came as a pleasant surprise to a star performer and the museum administration.
More than 50 people had passed through the heritage house and museum by mid-afternoon on Saturday to see Weiming Zhao’s ongoing Brandon Heritage outdoor show and meet him in person. The upstairs gallery was filled with people admiring his latest oil on canvas creations depicting some of the heritage homes and buildings that make up Brandon’s cityscape.
The show premiered on April 8 and will run until September 30.
Zhao himself was busy greeting his friends and fans, amazed that so many people came out as a heavy rainstorm hit the city to watch his art.
One of his works was even sold at that time.
“I’m very flattered to see so many people here,” he said. “It was very disheartening with this storm looming and snow coming. Honestly, I thought there wouldn’t be much. People are interested in seeing something like this because you don’t see something thing like that very often. It’s very much related to real life, and every building has a story.”
The exhibition presents 40 paintings. Works include the old courthouse and jail, the old mental hospital nurses’ residence, the former lieutenant governor’s house on 13th Street and the corner of Rosser Avenue and the 11th street downtown.
Her plein-air painting style is all about putting her impressions of the real world on canvas quickly, Zhao explained. Fine details are not necessary, as he works in the elements. It is about capturing an observation of its environment.
It’s about telling the story of the community. Having a show at the Daly House, which aims to preserve Brandon’s heritage, is fitting. He added that the show was also set to celebrate the house’s 140th anniversary.
All of his paintings are for sale with 20% of the proceeds going to the Daly House Museum.
Zhao has made painting a daily part of his life for 18 years. He said that upon arriving in Brandon after emigrating from China, he lived near Brandon University and was immediately impressed by the heritage buildings and began painting them. He made it a daily discipline to do one painting a day, regardless of season or weather conditions.
Many have become collectors’ items, including 14 in the Manitoba Provincial Art Collection. They were also sold in Canada, the United States, England, Scotland and Russia.
He began painting in the 1970s while still living in China to escape the Cultural Revolution propaganda from the national government.
Zhao uses oil on canvas because it is the best outdoor painting, as it resists rain and wind better than other paints like watercolor or acrylic. Watercolors would run and acrylics would dry too quickly.
All of the work presented by Zhao was outside of his daily painting regimen. He has no plans for a specific project, but he spends more time in Clear Lake and Riding Mountain National Park to paint.
It also provides for other emblematic heritage paintings.
» [email protected], with files from Brandon Sun
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