Both my parents were artistic although neither of them seriously pursued a vocation in art. They did, however, encourage me in that direction…up to a point.
Dad, a machinist, let me watch while he drew his illustrated stories. Mom, a school teacher, supplied me with oil pastels and canvas panels. By age ten, I had decided I wanted to be an artist and my parents, fearful that I was heading toward financial ruin, gently steered me in other directions. Living on a farm made that simpler. Before long I developed a deep fascination with the natural world, especially animal biology. So when it came time to decide on a post-secondary program to invest the next several years in, a degree in Fine Arts was off the table and I settled for a Science degree, specializing in Zoology. Ironically, I did a lot of wildlife art during this time. I also enrolled in a couple of graphic design programs and managed to occasionally teach art classes at various high schools. Just enough interest in my first love to keep it from becoming a mere hobby.
I am largely self-taught. Over the years I have been a part of various art groups and cooperatives. My best education took place over a period of 3 years at the Forum Art Institute in Winnipeg informally receiving instruction from the founder Nikola Bjelajac. My experience there set me on a direct path to what I now consider the real overarching purpose of visual art (art of any type really) as a sophisticated language of emotion.
Although my paintings (just like the drawings) are rendered realistically, I admire the looser techniques of the impressionists. I sense a need to develop my personal style and this affords me freedom to experiment, which I very much enjoy.
I have to learn to walk before I can dance. My “walking” is the realistic works I produce, to hone technique. My experiments, my “dancing”, which I have indulged in more and more lately, are a way to find an artistic style. I am not there yet. I find something to admire and emulate in Sargent’s work, in Rembrandt’s, in Van Gogh’s, in many artists of the past. For me, this is a path to discovery. I may never stop learning.