As a young man I thought every decision was forever.
I was 18 in 1963 and preparing to leave my small Manitoba hometown for art school in California. While awaiting x-ray results for my injured, four-legged best friend, Chief, I saw an ad for a reporter at the Brandon Daily Sun. Three days later I started a 25-year career as a storyteller with Canadian newspapers and magazines.
Goodbye art career? Not really. Several incredible decades of learning to observe and record human success and failure and telling those stories through words and photographs. But in 1991, it came time to drag a 46-year old mind to the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and begin a second 25-year career in storytelling—this time with the visual tools of ink, paper, canvas, paint, metal, or fibre.
As a visual artist, I have also become an educator in schools and university, as well as leading several private workshops each year. I have exhibited in galleries in most Canadian provinces, as well as many U.S. states, Mexico, and Asian and European countries.
Most of my visual storytelling is done through landscape art—abstracted enough to allow Nature's beauty to partially mask the human impact of industrialization on environment and our unique rural fabric.
Above all else, I learned that storytelling can also change the storyteller—that a few core values such as family or community are forever. Everything else is about change.
How did that painful, pivotal story about my injured dog, Chief end? Not well. He died a day before I started my new job at the Brandon daily paper more than 55 years ago. My Dad and I buried Chief late that same night, deep in the Minnedosa Valley hills, in the midst of a wild, drenching Prairie lightening storm.
Did it have an impact on my art?
Nah! Just a damn good story.
Studio: 1688 Brow of Mountain Rd. (visitors welcome)
Classes: Printmaking, Mixed Media
Nova Scotia Venues: Secord Gallery Hfx.; Teichert Gallery, Hfx; Visual Voice, Truro; Harvest Gallery, Wolfville.