From the Wild to the Wall

Experiment and Experience

The years post graduation were spent experimenting with different styles and techniques. Ontario College of Art taught artists to mine creativity, survey the works at certain points to determine our own inherent style, and work in that direction.

Paint what you love with passion and conviction, and if it is not in fashion, keep painting until one day it will be.

OCA Instructor

Determination

It took a few years of experimenting to finally find my thing. It became clear that I was actually a classically trained, expressionistic wildlife painter.  A deep respect for wildlife, so abundant in the mountains, naturally became the inspiration.

Breakthrough

The creative urge was unstoppable, and the years of work paid off with art that was a joy to make. The bears made their debut in the mid 1990’s in the small mountain town of Canmore, Alberta.

The Original Rocky Mountain Bears

Exhibited in Canmore and Banff since then, the wildlife and bear paintings have become well known, appearing in private collections and a few are on public display.

Classical Training

Rather than a realistic depiction of wildlife, the paintings are an exploration of Impressionist Colour Theory. Painting outdoors in the mountains contributed to the thick paint and loose look of the pieces, as well as formal training in the Alla Prima technique, which is traditionally used when painting oils outdoors.

Practical Influence

The vivid colour and big brushstrokes, hallmarks of this style, were originally revealed while painting in pastels on chalkboard menus in many of the cafes around the mountain towns years ago. The loose look was transferred first to the acrylic paintings, and later, to the oil paintings.

The style was then honed, receiving wider attention in 2001 at the Whyte Museum Exhibition, Bears: Imagination and Reality, and continues today as seen in galleries in Alberta and B.C.

It is an intense thrill – a chance encounter with a wild animal.

I’ll never get over it. They are so incredible. 

It is the excitement for wildlife and also for the paint itself that fills the canvas.  

All I know now 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 the hard won truth.

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