Corner Store Paintings

When I set out to paint Victoria, I first began a series of pictures of just about every corner store I found. They were ubiquitous - the centerpiece of every neighbourhood - and yet unnoticed. There was self consciousness”, no quaint decor. You knew you could get a bottle of pop, some cigarettes, a newspaper and a lottery ticket - they didn’t need to advertise the fact. Very few now remain in business, and among the hundred I painted, only these few images remain in my studio.

The Alpine Market

The Alpine Market was on Fort east of Blanshard (before it moved around the corner, and then back again). I found it particularly appealing for its display of neon lighting. This picture focuses on the neon words “cut flowers” vying for attention with the real thing. Inside, there were neon tulips on the ceiling.
acrylic on panel, 11 x 14 inches. $550

acrylic on panel, 11 x 14 inches. $550

The Banfield Market

Banfield Market on Craigflower Road was a perfect example of shop-built-onto-home. Seen here in the sun-dappled light of a summer morning, it speaks of times gone by. 
acrylic on wooden panel, 8 x 10 inches. $375

acrylic on wooden panel, 8 x 10 inches. $375

The B&E Market

The B&E Market was located at Fort and Cook Streets. I learned that it was owned by two brother, Bill and Ed - B and E. But it always reminded me of the police blotter lingo for “break and enter”.
acrylic on wooden panel, 9 x 12 inches. $450

acrylic on wooden panel, 9 x 12 inches. $450

Parkfield Stores

Parkfield Stores is on the outskirts of the town of Chepstow, on the Welsh border in Britain. who knows what lies underneath the white stucco building, but we can see that the Royal Mail installed a red “pillar box” directly into the old stone wall. Embassy cigarettes, Wall’s ice cream and the Daily Telegraph are all advertised, under the watchful eye of a ginger cat.
acrylic on wooden panel, 14 x 18 inches. $725

acrylic on wooden panel, 14 x 18 inches. $725

Cordova Bay Grocery

Cordova Bay Grocery was one of those charmless commercial enterprises which was often the case with the old-style convenience store. In this case the blocky little shop backed onto the postcard-perfect beach of Cordova Bay.
acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches. $625

acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches. $625

Doncaster Grocery

Doncaster Grocery somehow remains in business, though if it weren’t for the elementary school across the road it might have no customers at all. I was generous with my depiction of the flowers outside - usually there are none. This painting has a special significance for me - it’s my car!
acrylic on masonite, 14 x 18 inches. $725

acrylic on masonite, 14 x 18 inches. $725

Foul Bay Rd and Oak Bay Ave

Foul Bay Road and Oak Bay Avenue is a major crossroads in Victoria, and this shop has seen it all. In the 1970s it still had the remains of an actual soda fountain, and a terrific magazine rack. In later years it was a flower shop, and I painted it one afternoon when it was vacant, with the atmosphere of an Edward Hopper painting.
acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $650

acrylic on wooden panel, 12 x 16 inches. $650

Jiang's Grocery

Jiang’s Grocery was lost in the suburban wilderness of Gordon Head Road. I painted it in the 1980s and I believe it has been swallowed up by suburban sprawl. Seen in the rain with bars on the windows and a bit of false-front architecture, it is not the Victoria of tourism brochures.
acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches. $450
 
 

acrylic on panel, 9 x 12 inches. $450