Column: It’s that time of year

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at

It’s that time of year again where people make resolutions to take up things they’ve always wanted to do or improve on those things they’ve felt have been lacking. It’s a common story and we all do it, whether we like to admit it or not. Personally, I keep things simple and have been making the same resolution for the last 10 or so years and that’s to write more. Some years I’m successful, other’s not so much, but I keep at it in the hopes that one of these years I’ll feel like I’ve written enough and maybe I can relax a little.

Regardless of what you’re trying to do, finding the time, energy or even a good reason to follow through with your resolution can be hard, especially when it’s something creative. There’s always something that needs doing more, whether it’s house work, looking after the kids or any number of the other things that come up when you’re trying to sit down and create. Sometimes it’s a matter of just needing a little push, sometimes that push comes in the form of inspiration, sometimes it comes from something more tangible, joining a class, talking to friends about your plans or even deciding to join a group of like-minded folks because being surrounded by those who are experiencing the same thing as you can be a really motivational thing.

If you’re looking for something to help kick start creativity this year, the Summerland Art Gallery is holding a creative challenge called Banners Reborn 2.0. The point of this challenge is to take the old banners that have done their duty hanging around the streets of Summerland and turn them into a new piece of art. I love this idea for so many reasons. Firstly, it’s a non-traditional collaboration between an artist you may never have met — or maybe you have and you’ve always wanted to work with them — and yourself. I say non-traditional because you’re altering the original piece, as opposed to working to create it. I also like it because of the fact that you have to start with something someone else has already done. These kinds of creative collaborations always produce some really interesting results and it’s just amazing how much can be done using someone else’s work as a starting point.

I spent years doing similar things before moving to Summerland. Every couple of weeks I’d get together with a friend of mine and we’d start drawing. He’d draw for a bit and then pass off the page to me and I’d take over — I’d be doing the same thing with my page. The end result of these collaborative efforts were often incredible and we managed to produce a few hundred pages of drawings over the years.

The old banners are available for pick up at the Summerland Art Gallery starting Jan. 4 and there’s a $20 deposit required at the time of pickup. You have until Feb. 12 to complete your new piece of art and drop it off at the art gallery. Good luck to those who decide this is their first step to a more creative 2016.

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at