Archive for the “Landscape, portraiture, still life, abstract” Category

non-west coast style art

My dad, who is much of the inspiration and source for my artistic talent, passed away last month after living with Hepatitis C for 15 years. I am currently compiling an online retrospective on his art.

He was a large inspiration to my own work. Dad was born in Toronto, Ontario and was abandoned by his mother in a back yard, at only a few months old. Dad’s birth certificate describes his mother as “Indian Canadian.” Dad was of Ojibway descent. A foster child in the Catholic children’s aid society, dad moved through many homes throughout his childhood. Even still, dad’s talent was noticed at at early age and he was even asked to do a fairly large commission at the age of 12. Dad went to Ontario College of Art in the 70’s. He loved to work in chalk pastels. Dad struggled with drug addiction from an early age and I think that this competed with his ambitions and in many ways hindered him. Still, dad was a troubled soul and fought darkness that most of us never experience. I think that he did good with what he was given.

Like I said, he was an inspiration to me. I’m going to miss him. But I am glad that we got to spend the time that we did together. And we even made a mends of sorts in the last few years. One of my most favorite memories was when we had an exhibit together at The Old Ranger Station in Telkwa. The Ranger Station is now gone, and so too is dad; but I can hold on to the memory that will last forever.

We also had other memories. I remember the time, soon after the Station exhibit, when we decided to go painting along the riverside in Topley. Dad wanted to sketch the Bulkley, where it comes through Topley. I remember saying that the bugs were probably fierce and that we should probably use a tent or something. So, I brought a tent, but he refused to use it with me. We were out there for over 2 hours and he was quite eaten alive; but I think that he got a better sketch than I did. Something that he probably realized, and though it may seem obvious, is that an artist draws/paints/expresses what they see. So, my painting looked like it had been skewed and darkened through the lens of a bug net, while his sketch looked crisp. My wife, Amy, always says that my sketches look like they are drawn by someone who is near sighted, and she’s right–my near sightedness comes out in my sketches. My dad did get many bug bites that day, but he brought home a more true representation of the landscape. I don’t know what happened to that sketch of his (below is my painting), and I kind of wish that I had traded him for one of my own, but again we still have the memory and that’s what matters.

My dad told me once that presentation is the most important part of the art process. I think that dad used this knowledge to keep people away as much as he did attract them. I think of how he kept his house on the day when we went to go clean it out. Dad had some nice things, but I think he know that some of the people who he associated with would steal from him if they knew the value of these objects, so he made them look shabby so that only he would know the true value.

This speaks to me as a bit of a life lesson. The treasures in this world are buried in the dirt.

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And like the red words of someone’s thought bubble, spring is conceived…

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I have a thing about being in public spaces just to hear people talk. It is the next best thing to conversation when you can’t find a friend to talk with and when you really, really need one. Sometimes–actually always–God ordains something or someone to happen. What better day than on earth day that God should send me Peter and Paul, messengers of the Gospel to the world?

I was playing chess when another chess fan came up and asked me if I wanted to strike up a game. Peter turned out to be a magician, yes a magician, from St John’s, NB. He knows a lot about philosophy, ideas and even computer theory. We had a grand old time playing chess, talking deep and laughing it up. Peter introduced me to his friend, Paul, who like me, is a visual artist but from George. Paul is also Ojibway, like my dad.

Peter mentioned that he loves art. And the first artist that he mentioned? Escher!

Peter also mentioned that he was going to Haida Gwaii.

Peter finished off the afternoon with a bagel photo op (for a contest), and a series of magic tricks, including this amazing trick that involved a twisting fork with only one hand–yes, a normal fork…yes, only one hand…

God sent some friends when I needed them. Yes, it was quite unorthodoxically, yet characteristically God at work!

Please check out Peter’s blog at and Paul’s blog at

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I had a strange urge to want to change my Facebook profile pic to a daffodil. And this reminded me of the Canadian Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Days”

I have a few friends who have been affected by cancer and some of their stories have resonated with me.

This is usually around the time when the cherry blossoms are in bloom in Vancouver and the lower mainland. It makes me think that there are probably some people who are down there right now getting treated for cancer and that perhaps some of them are able to walk around and reflect upon how short life is. We should all keep this in the back of our minds, really.

I wanted to ask people to share their experiences. Do you know someone who has beaten cancer? Do you know someone who died from it? Did they leave behind something special?

Please post and share your experiences 🙂

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Merry Christmas everyone.  Thank you for making this such a good year.  I am looking forward to new art and adventure in the new year.

Here’s a thought to leave you with.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6


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Okay, here’s the deal. I am planning on giving away an impressionist painting to one of my facebook fans when my page reaches 200 likes.

Here’s how to enter: 1) like my page, 2) post on my wall that you want to be part of the contest.

My facebook page is here:

When the page reaches 200 likes, there will be a draw from among the people who entered.

The piece is called Red Sunset. Here are more details on this piece:

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Well, it has been a few weeks since I have posted and quite a few things have been going on. I have been volunteering at a kid’s bible camp just outside of Houston, BC. While there I rediscovered something that I didn’t even know I have been missing. It was a very rewarding experience working with these kids and the staff at Camp Mountainview. And not only did I get to stretch my wings as a stand-in camp councillor, I also had the opportunity to take in the beautiful nature in and around the camp.

"Water Lilies" is currently in exhibit at the Terrace Art Gallery

In addition to this, many of the councillors and staff took advantage of my offer to sketch their faces in exchange for “fanning” (ie liking) my facebook page.  They got a digital copy of their sketch in return for liking my page.  This was a good deal for me as “facebook ads” can cost upwards of $5 per fan. Here are some of the faces that I completed.

"Momma from CMV 2011"

This is my most recent “project.”  I am also in the process of painting a new design.  I should also remind all fans out there that I have recently released some really nice silkscreen prints. If you haven’t already, you should check out “Butterflies” under the prints tab at the top.  This is a really nice print, processed by accomplished screen printer, Andy MacDougall, and it is currently in 3 major galleries in Vancouver and Victoria.  See the last post for directions.


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