I was born in Calgary Alberta in April1958. My father’s job involved some transfers so I moved often as a child, with the family finally settling in Ontario. While growing up I would visit my grandparents in Calgary during summer holidays. There I was able to enjoy the Stampede, went once to a horse camp in the Alberta foothills, and a few times fishing in the Okanogan. Mostly I was happy to be “out west”. Getting there meant the excitement of a 4 hr. flight from Toronto so an early interest in flying began.
Building plastic models and drawing airplanes became primary pastime activities and when old enough, I began flying lessons. Eventually, with an aviation career in mind I moved to Calgary to teach flying and build hours towards an airline job. In the early 80’s though the job market for pilots was at the bottom of its cycle and a diagnosis of mild colourblindness seemed to end such aspirations. I got a real job working on the ground with a major airline which provided a steady paycheque and the ability to travel but it forced a move back to Ontario. Drawing of course continued and I started to play with watercolors and acrylics encouraged by family, friends and people in the aviation industry who actually wanted to pay money for my paintings.
With no formal art training except for high school art classes, I learned by studying the work of artists whose paintings I liked. Books and magazines featuring the work of Frank Wootton, Keith Ferris, R.G. Smith and others became my text books. I would visit the Air and Space Museum in Washington to see their paintings and try to learn from the real thing. Their books remain as valuable treasures to me and I still refer to them often.
Years later, I am fortunate to have earned several awards at various shows and competitions including ArtFlight at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa, Horizons of Flight in Dallas and the first Gold Founders Award by the American Society of Aviation Artists. As well, pieces have been juried into major exhibitions at The U.S.A.F Museum in Dayton and the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Original paintings are proudly featured in Kirsten Galleries in Seattle and Gig Harbor, and Settlers West Galleries in Tucson. They are also included in seasonal shows at Legacy and Trailside Galleries in Scottsdale and Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland.
Aviation art like other subjects usually requires a background or environment surrounding and supporting the main subject. In trying to learn and solve the problems of depicting landscape and figures, as well as discovering techniques in the handling of oils on canvas, the work of other artists has become influential and inspirational. References now have a much wider base ranging from Sargent, Payne and Remington to Aspevig, Reynolds and Christensen. I consider myself fortunate to have spent some valuable time with Wilson Hurley, a master of both aviation and landscape art who greatly helped to open my mind and eyes to the importance of landscape.
Still inspired by many predecessors and current favorites, and with an unending desire to learn, an individual style continues to evolve while striving to express an appreciation and love of aviation and the landscape.
Now living in Toronto, my wife Marlen and I enjoy travelling, flying and spending time with family and friends as much as we can.