The Art

From the Wild to the Wall

The signature bears and this style took over 20 years to develop through hard, honest and consistent work. Art College taught us to continue to mine our creativity, survey the works at certain points to determine our inherent style, and push in that direction. To simply copy another’s style and oeuvre would be a disservice to our own creative path. We were told to paint what we love, with passion and conviction, and if it is not in fashion, keep painting and one day it will be.

I waitressed for over 10 years, starved at times, painted through the night, painted garbage, painted masterpieces and strove and struggled. I struggled because I was determined to be a cutting edge, contemporary, conceptual painter, and so the work came to represent only struggle. The horrifying truth was that I was actually a classically trained, expressionistic wildlife painter.  The realization finally sank in, that a deep love of animals was actually part of my ‘thing’.

The paintings exploded on the scene – in the mid 1990’s in the small mountain town of Canmore, Alberta.

Black Bear Triptych. One of the first bear paintings, way back in the 90’s.

The wildlife paintings are an exploration of Impressionist Colour Theory, with animals as the subject instead of the traditional landscapes and figures. There also may be a heavy Alla Prima influence mashed in for good measure, as I spent many years painting outdoors en Plein Air.

All I now know is that when I stand in front of the easel, brush in hand, it is the right place to be, and what comes out of that brush is my own hard won truth.

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L-Black bear from ‘Bears Imagination and Reality’                        R- recent bear

The Original Rocky Mountain Bears

Exhibited in the Rocky Mountain towns of Canmore and Banff since the late 90’s, my colourful, distinctive wildlife paintings are very well known and appear both in private collections and a few are on public display.

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Chalkboard Menus from Canmore, late 1990’s

The vivid colour and big brushstrokes that signal my style originated from painting in pastels on chalkboard menus in many of the cafes around the mountain towns years ago. The “stroke-y” look was transferred first to the acrylic paintings, and later, to the oil paintings. This style was honed for many years, first receiving wider attention at the Whyte Museum Exhibition in 2001, Bears: Imagination and Reality, and continues today as seen in galleries in Alberta and B.C.

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“Cinnamon Bear” from ‘Bears, Imagination and Reality’ 2001

The artwork is intent on conveying the intense thrill of a chance encounter with a wild animal. Sighting an animal in the wild gives me a real charge, could be because I’m originally from a big city, and I’ll never get over it, they are so incredible. 

The art is very up-close and personal, and the paint is applied thick and wild. The excitement for wildlife and for the act of painting explodes all over the canvas, filling it with energy. (read: I go in the zone and don’t really know what’s happening until it’s over) I am visually screaming the phrase, “Look at THAT – over there!!”. This happens verbally as well, on hikes.

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“Sunny Boy”, oil, 2014

Now living in Okotoks, Alberta, just east of the mountains, I continue to happily paint the Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies, and support a small herd of deer, a skunk and occasional jackrabbit with the garden just outside of the studio.

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“One Day Down at The Fishing Hole Up North”, 24×48, oil

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“Intent”, 24×30, oil on canvas, 2013

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