David Nash

Coastal Range
The Ramparts Jasper National Park

I was a geneticist, trained at University College London and King’s College Cambridge, before joining the University of Alberta in 1965. I retired in 1997, having been Chairman of the now defunct Department of Genetics for eleven years.
My history of painting is much longer; I was painting several years before entering Elementary School and have been doing so more or less ever since. I have always used water medium of some kind: early on poster paint; then true acquarelles (which most of us refer to as watercolour), in my teens until my thirties, then gouache from 1980 on. In recent years I have usually used acqarelles, although I commonly employ white gouache over-painting.
Around the time I moved to Canada. I switched to acrylics, the only medium where I ever had training. The discipline of having an instructor (Alfred Schmidt at the Edmonton Art Gallery) was invaluable. It never did occur to me to repeat it. I am inherently a loner and like to work things out for myself, I suppose.

For nearly forty years, now, I have worked exclusively with water based media. I paint what I want. Most of my work is landscape, albeit often highly abstracted. I am neither a scholarly nor a schooled painter. It never occurs to me to ask myself what I am trying to achieve. Nor indeed do I start from a clearly planned concept, even when I have a sketch or a photograph in mind. I am intent on what the paint is doing on the paper. Indeed, as I get older, I find greater delight in abstraction. The marks I have made on the paper must satisfy me as an object; that is really all there is to it.

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