I was born and raised in Duncan B.C. I’ve always had a love and fascination of nature, and in my younger life, spent countless hours wandering the Koksilah River, fishing and observing the intricacies and colours of life on the river. For several years, we lived on a farm that bordered the river. Long summer days with dappled light under and around the trees, and deep shadows laying over the water, never failed to intrigue my senses. These were wonderful, solitary times and I was mostly alone with my thoughts, immersed in the life of the river. Looking back on this time now, it appears in my memory as a patch work quilt of sights and colours and smells. Years later, in junior high, I took an art class with a Mr. Peter Yelland. This was the spark that ignited an interest that has lasted for more than fifty years. This teacher made a comment one day in class, that, “in nature, on a very sunny day, the shadows under and around the trees, appeared to be blue”. When I heard this, I thought, well of course they are, but the class broke up with laughter. “How this could be possible”, they said. Nothing was more obvious or seemed to make more complete sense to me, for I had observed this many, many times. I learned to paint in oils with this teacher, and we had many enlightening conversations about and around painting, and colour. Over the years I have never tired of the outdoors, observing the kaleidoscope of colour and light that make up the world around us. High school, Cowichan high to be exact, was my next stop. The timing turned out to be most fortunate. I enrolled in a Fine Art program with a teacher who it turned out, had been an instructor at the Vancouver School of Fine Art, in Vancouver. William Calder, had attended the Art school in Vancouver for two years, given a full four year degree, and was asked to teach. He was born on the island and returned here to teach after two or three years in Vancouver. He was incredibly accomplished in all facets of art, including art history as well as the many other facets of this endeavour we call Art. I learned much from Mr. Calder, and in fact, for those two years, I was completely immersed in everything Art. He emphasized art history as much as the doing of art in the present. I chaffed at these studies, wanting to pick up a brush and splash paint on the nearest canvas.After graduation, I left for Vancouver and the Vancouver School of Fine Art. To say this undertaking was fraught with culture shock, would be a huge under statement. I was accepted into a four year program, but after a year or less, I decided that this city and school was not for me. I was not prepared for life in a city, and the school, although it enjoyed a high regard in the local art world, had much happening that had little to do with the study of painting or what I saw as an artistic direction that I would prefer.
When I came home to the island, I went to work in the logging industry, or as my dad would say “in the woods”. Through the years since, I have done all of the normal, or what is thought to be normal things. I married, and with my first wife, raised two wonderful kids and saw them both grow into great young people and then mature over time, becoming terrific parents.We bought and operated a retail business, worked full time, I, at a pulp and paper mill, my wife at one of the banks, and painted more or less full time as well. Time has us brought four beautiful grand children.
In 2006, after several years on my own, I found myself remarried to a most wonderful girl from Honeymoon Bay. Sheila has always supported my aritistic endevours. She has in large part, helped create an environment that has nourished both my need to create, as well as her own. She has taken up an interest in Portrature, and is doing very well at it. We have tried, with some success, to create an interest in the creative process for all four of the grandchildren. Birthdays and holidays invariably have meant gifts of sketch books and lots of art supplies. I believe, for some of them, the spark has been lit, or at least I hope so. My greatest hope is that the creative process becomes one more facet of their lives that enrichs , just as it has mine.
Through the years, I did shows, was juried into the Federation of Canadian Artists, and sold many, many works through lots of different venues. Although most of these paintings are still alive and floating in the back of my memory, where they went, or to whom they went, comes and goes. It still surprises me from time to time, to walk into a friends or family members home, and see a painting that I had completely forgotten about.
I have found the creative process, although, by necessity, a solitary process, is in the end about letting others share
in my vision of the world arround us. If I can evoke a feeling or response with a painting or drawing, then maybe in some small way, I have succeded.