'I find that immersing myself in the natural world to be very beneficial.
We are truly blessed to live in an area that allows us to be surrounded by natural beauty
within minutes of our homes.' ~ Ken Lane
I am an explorer.....this reflects in all that I do. I have always wanted to explore new places, new experiences and new knowledge. I have really enjoyed a varied geographical journey that began in the county of Devon in England. I was born on a farm in the English countryside, and have always felt a connection to agriculture as a result. I always enjoyed drawing and painting from an early age, and was lucky enough to discover the pure pleasure of creating images on paper, cardboard or anything else that lacked decoration ! At the age of thirteen, I was lucky enough to emigrate to Vermilion, Alberta with my parents and brother. This was an amazing adventure, and awakened my inner explorer. We moved into a house next to Vermilion Provincial Park, and I spent much of my time exploring the trails and far reaches of the park by bike, canoe and cross country skiing in Winter.
After High School I joined the Canadian Armed Forces and spent three years in New Brunswick. Looking back, this was an exploration of myself in relation to the concept of challenge. Even though I was training to protect this amazing country and our way of life, I was always drawn to the natural world around me as that kept me grounded and in touch with what I consider to be my truth. I enjoyed photography during this time and found myself drawn to the scenery of the area.
After three years, I decided to make a career change and moved to Vancouver Island where I met my wife, Angela. I took my military pension and invested it into an ocean kayak - thankfully, I had a very limited understanding of finances, otherwise I may have made a different choice. Kayaking around the island was truly amazing and allowed me to explore areas otherwise not accessible. Moving with the ocean swells, feeling the sea spray and being privileged enough to be around whales, seals and the myriad of wildlife that inhabit these areas. This was pure exploration for me and I will be forever grateful to have had these experiences. I was still focussing (no pun intended) on photography, but did embark on a journey of capturing some of these places and wildlife using watercolours.
In 1995, we found ourselves in need of employment and looked around BC new opportunities, and found ourselves on the highway to somewhere called Fort St John. I did paint a little on arrival, but found myself busy with new work, climate and life in general. I kept up with photography and discovered some of the wonderful places and trails in the Peace Country made for exploration. I spent the first five years here working as a carpenter, which does relate to being an artist in that there is a certain subjective aspect of design and creation while building homes for people. I now work in the energy industry, and am happy to help keep my fellow Canadians warm during our chilly Winters. I am looking forward to the next great exploration called retirement, where I think that there will be much more opportunity to explore my inner universe, without all the external influences and scheduling imposed on us while we work away at our jobs.
My motivation to create art is an endeavor to reach beyond our material and utilitarian side of life. Everything that makes a piece of art wonderful transcends the mundane, so to attempt to create art to me is the ultimate exploration. Having the pure freedom to create that stems from a blank canvas is both exciting and intimidating. I spend quite a lot of time exploring my bank of photographs trying to remember what was special at that time, why this struck me as important, and how best to convey the experience through a piece of artwork.
I am currently working mostly in acrylics, as I really love the spontaneity and quickness that goes along with a medium that dries in a short time. I look forward to exploring the possibilities of pastels, oils and watercolours as I believe that every medium helps a person learn and progress along an artistic journey.
One of my challenges involves creating the space required to make good art. To me, there are three types of space required to be a successful artist. The first one is the easiest, and that is to create a physical space that allows room to keep your artwork set up and ready to be worked on as soon as the creative spark ignites. The second, is a little more challenging, and that is to create the space in time needed to truly devote yourself to a piece of art. I am very lucky in that my wife, Angela is supportive of my art making and realizes that there are times where I will be in the studio for quite some time. As I progress in my painting, I find that each piece is taking longer to reach the point where I am willing to move on to something new. The last type of space needed to make art, for me, is the most challenging. This would be to create the calm mental space that is unencumbered by all the outside influences and details of daily life. When I am struggling to gain the mental calmness that I feel is needed to really create well, I find that immersing myself in the natural world to be very beneficial. We are truly blessed to live in an area that allows us to be surrounded by natural beauty within minutes of our homes.
When I am painting, I typically listen to instrumental music. I find that this occupies the part of my brain that would start to think about the daily details that would take me away from my creative mental space. Currently I have been listening to Gabriella Quevedo who is an amazing guitarist who plays instrumental versions of the music that I grew up with.
One memorable moment for me where I started to consider myself an artist was having a piece in the first Art Auction that we attended in 2018 which was well received. Since then, having my work hang at Peace Gallery North has built my confidence, and spurred me on to keep painting and keep learning. I am inspired by many great artists, both local and otherwise, and have been lucky enough to spend time with some wonderful people as a result. The local artists have been so encouraging and welcoming, that I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this community. I am both inspired and encouraged by life in the Peace River Country surrounded by majestic scenery, abundant wildlife, and wonderful people who carry on the pioneering spirit of generosity as they share knowledge, experience and courage needed to create art.
'Never stop exploring!'