1957 - I am in foreground during
winter family trip to the cottage. By bag contains art supplies for
sketching or painting during our stay
I have now tried
to make a living from being a realist nature artist
with plenty of scientific curiosity on the side, for 20-30 years.
that I had been studying science (applied science and engineering at
the University of Toronto). Although my general scientific curiosity
kept me in university until graduation, once I became employed as an
engineer or planner, I found the path to further discovery, to further
satisfying my curiosity, was closed.
I found myself returning mentally
to my early days of explorations of nature and portraiture. By the time
I was a teenager, I had sketched and painted many portraits and
landscapes, and spent several years participating in special young
people's art courses held once a week at the Art Gallery of Ontario and
then at the Ontario College of Art. But mostly I was self-taught with
the help of books from the library and direct experience painting the
wilderness at the family cottage in east central Canada.
But then the original teenage pursuit of art (
depicted in the above photo) subsided since the pursuit of art is never
secure and I headed toward engineering, planning. Nonetheless I saw an
opportunity to bring back my teenager circumstances and pursuits
at least as a pastime. But by the end o the 1970's, one saw North
American public's interest towards the natural world explode
thought the images in
the limited edition prints of environmental wildlife art of Robert
Bateman. Then there was a
recession at that time and the consulting firm where I was working
closed down, It was a time to reevaluate my life. I decided that
instead of searching for another job in
which I found little joy, I would return to my aspirations when I was a
teenager painting landscapes and people at the family summer cottage in
central Ontario south of Algonquin Park. With
parents deceased by now, I
inherited half a cottage and bought out the other half from my sister.
I was now exactly in the position I had been over a decade ago and
being inspired to paint and sell paintings of the wilderness. The
cottage property was now mine. and I was free to decide to live there,
make my studio there, and make that my home base as I pursued art.
course began painting the kinds of paintings that were now popular, and
aspiring to create the masterpiece that could be published as a limited
edition litho print.
At the same time, I did everything an artist must
in order to recieve attention, find customers, and get an income. I did
all the contacting of framing shops and village art galleries. I
entered as many annual art festivals I could. Based at my cottage
the wilderness, I still had a road to a highway and a highway to a
local village and Peterborough further away, I had the ideal situation
for pursuing wildlife art. I used the phone alot, made the required
contacts, attended art festivals from as far west as Thunder Bay and as
far east as Ottawa.
I worked hard, and managed to survive as a wildlife
artist for a decade and then another decade and another, and I am still
here, even as the explosion in interest in wildlife art has subsided
already for more than a decade.
I remained with nature art because I understood how
it had been before the explosion of interest in the 1980's. Things had
simply returned to how they had been before. Indeed, when I began
pursuing art as a teemager. there was no explosion in wildlife art,
there was what
was called "animal art" established mainly in the U.S. and there was
also "landscape painting" that took inspiration from the famous Group
of Seven and their friend who perished in a canoe accident
earlier, I was already doing attractive wildferness
landscape art in the late 1950's
through the 1960's.
I was therefore not affected by the downturn. I was
familiar with the art world of earlier. and I could return to what I
did then. In practice that meant mainly generating small landscape
placing them in art galleries. One year that was almost all I did and
Since then I have managed to survive on art and
continue to have my
home base at the same cottage where my artistic pursuits began.
The purpose of these web pages is to show you
of what I consider my best work to date. I have divided the
presentations between my nature landscapes, my decade or two of
wildlife art - nature including animals - and other forms of realist
painting including portraits.
Back in the 1960's interest in
landscape paintings was purely about something small to hang on the
wall. Landscape paintings were inspired by impressionistic styles of
Group of Seven/Tom Thomson traditions. As long as one did not
depart too far from realism. I believe in this painting above, painted
on the spot of a marina. It included experimenting
with a new paint - acrylics