“Double dog dare you” from one Penny to two friends triggered three local painters to commit to a year of exploration and development of their various painting styles, skills and methods used to represent the human figure in preparation for a group exhibition. The show runs from October 8-26 at the Pearl Ellis Gallery in Comox.

“Figuring it out” brings to gallery goers a widely varied, colourful and expressive range of figurative works created by Penny Kelly, Bette Kosmolak, and Penny Hacking.

Spurred on by each other to be curious, experimental and adventurous in exploring mark making, materials, styles and the concept of figure, they worked hard and learned much over the past year to add to their studio practice. Collectively, it was agreed that images for this show should be loosely figurative and that the goal of each piece was to achieve a sense of accomplishment, a completion, and a place to stop – then DO MORE ART.

Penny Kelly has lived and painted for a lifetime on the island. She has a vigorous colourful acrylic and mixed media approach to creating stylish dynamic semi-abstracted images.

Bette Kosmolak, a prairie transplant living in the Valley, works boldly in a variety of mediums often on found surfaces. Her painting style is freely explorative and interestingly her figurative images have almost a landscape quality to them.

Penny Hacking has been home in the Valley since 1974. Her work begins with a drawing, or figurative design, which she paints into with ink and watercolour adding expression, contours and mass to create semi-abstract figures of interest.

The three artists have met the creative challenge thrown down and have succeeded in generating imaginative individual statements of the human form.


A reception will be held on Saturday, October 12 from 1-3 pm. The artists will be in attendance and everyone is welcome.

The Pearl Ellis Gallery is located at 1729 Comox Avenue in Comox. Open Tue-Sat, 10 am to 4 p m.
Closed Sunday/Monday. Admission is free.
For information about the gallery and to see a virtual display of the exhibition, visit