I grew up in Guelph, Ontario. I have been a life-long artist and naturalist, interested in all aspects of nature, and also historic architecture. I began drawing at a young age. My parents encouraged me, and for a short time as a young teen I attended a small drawing class taught by well-known Guelph artist, Nan Hogg. I taught myself to paint in my twenties, while living in Niagara Falls and participating in a local arts group there.
In 1993, I moved to nearby Haldimand County to work for the Lower Grand River Land Trust (non-profit conservation organization), and began drawing and painting the landscapes, farms, and animals that were there. I held my first solo show, “River Wanderings”, in 1993. This was a success, and was followed by regular solo shows, and some group shows held with other artists (see bio). At one of these shows, an artist was displaying his soapstone carvings, and I became intrigued with the use of soapstone to create three-dimensional form. After extensive research, I bought some stone and taught myself to carve. A local bronze sculptor, Richard Osborne, encouraged me, and gave me useful references, and some pointers on working in the round using the lost wax method. I became a founding Board member of Haldimand Art Works, a new community-based non-profit arts organization based in Cayuga. In addition to group shows, I also taught drawing and soapstone carving to adults and children during that period.
An interest in the culinary arts took me away from drawing and carving for ten years while I worked as a professional cook and baker various places, including four years at Twisted Lemon, a local fine dining restaurant.
In 2015, I moved to the adjacent Norfolk County, a productive agricultural area, with extensive shoreline along Lake Erie, and a bounty of picturesque villages, towns, parks, restored natural lands, and forests. I was re-inspired, and realized that there were endless new subjects here for carvings and paintings. I joined Artists By The Bay, an arts group based in Port Rowan, and began carving and painting on a full-time basis in my home studio and workshop. I led soapstone carving workshops for my arts group in 2016 and 2017. I held a retrospective exhibition of my paintings and some new carvings at the Port Rowan Public Library in August of 2017.
My paintings and carvings are primarily figurative, presenting a realistic expression of the animal or landscape. Having a unique and original approach to my subject matter is important to me – my designs and approach are my own and sometimes experimental.
I use both Canadian and Brazilian soapstone, to carve ducks, turtles, owls, hawks, snakes, and other creatures. My carvings are not overly detailed; I try to use the colour and character of the stone in equal balance. My goal is to get across the concept and spirit of the animal. I use a wide range of reference materials for each piece, and focus on species that interest me, which are often ones that tend not to be carved very often by other carvers. I finish my carvings with numerous coats of pure Tung oil, which develops a lovely hand-rubbed patina, and brings out the colour of the stone in beautiful and unexpected ways.
Drawings and Paintings
I use pen and ink to create highly detailed botanical drawings, and oils or acrylics for landscape or architectural paintings. This work is done using my own reference material, and I work on location as much as possible. Most of my paintings are done on stretched canvas.