I started my painting journey at age ten, with encouragement from my Father and listened to his advice. To get better and better in my painting life I made sure my work on the new painting was better than the painting just finished. Through my school years I found the only subject I enjoyed was Art class and being out of school painting and drawing . Growing up in the fifties and sixties I spent a lot of time outdoors and surrounded by nature , at the same time I spent a lot of my time drawing and doing paintings. As a member of a large family of 6, I enjoyed spending time with my own company and drawing the wonderful scenes surrounding me , there I found peace from the actions of our family . As a child we moved around a lot , which allowed me to see many different towns and countryside due to my Fathers employment directions which was a great influence on my love for nature’s wonders . Our family background has been connected to the arts , from my Grandfather’s ( OJ Stevenson) books when he was the Dean of the English Department of Guelph University and my Grandmother (Mabel McLuhan)'s books and her brother's work (Marshall McLuhan). We were surrounded by paintings and drawings of some of the country's notable artists of our time , from a few of the Group of Seven and a number of European artists hung on the walls of our family home, which allowed me to study up close their techniques and compositions , which has influenced my work over the years . My training formally started when I left High School and entered into College (George Brown College in Toronto ) in their Design and Illustration program. There I enjoyed the instruction of Professional designers and artists working in and around Toronto , their projects showed me the importance of deadlines and producing top quality work within short time frames . After College I went directly into the Design world as the Art director with Jacque Charette’s design agency ( noted for his design work with Expo 67). With his agency we worked on many notable projects for Government and Private organizations which gave me the foundation in marketing and design , which enabled me to open my own firm and art and design became the centre of my life. My time in the design world I learned to do many different styles in painting due to the ever-changing client needs. After that time I began to get tired of doing other peoples styles and started to work on my own style which brings me to today’s work painting with pure oils with palette knives which gives my work a unique look that my clients seem to enjoy .
What shaped my art journey was studying artist work through the centuries by visiting both public and private galleries. Seeing what others did I have always thought “What one man can do , another can do.” I am an Impressionist painter and I love looking at the Master works of the Canadian and European artists through the centuries which set the bar for my own work. .
My influences in my life have been the works of Monet , Van Gogh, Cezanne , Seurat , and a little bit from the Group of Seven, due to my Mothers involvement with McMicheal’s Art gallery and the private Family Collection hung on our family walls over the years .
I have always been the happiest when I am near the wildness of nature , cities freak me out , I find there is just too much to take in , being in and around the natural world is when I am happy . I love the ever changing colours that nature brings . And those colours find their way into my paintings. The main reason I moved to Vancouver Island is my view from my Studio of Stuart Channel and the ever changing view of the ocean and the really large trees on our property .
I start a painting with perspective lines giving the horizontal as well as the two or three or four point perspective directions without a drawing on the canvas , then I can start to paint ; starting with the furthest thing away moving forward to the closest which gives me greater depth in the painting, or I do the reverse closest thing to me to the furthest away, either way the depth is achieved.
I work in many media: watercolours ( still enjoy from time to time), acrylics ( only use these if I need to deliver a painting within 24 hours ,other wise I hate the smell of the paint ), pure food colour dyes , usually use the pure colour base by Pointing Canada's Base dyes ,works like watercolours but much stronger than water colours , creates a very bright colour affect. Tried woodblock prints , (introduced to me by my Father ), silk screening , both on cloth and printing on paper, pen and ink drawing (still do it from time to time ), Chinese painting sticks with water and a chinese brush , I love the monochromatic effects, creating paintings with paper , love this type of work, haven’t done it for years but have fond memories of the pieces done in the past, figure painting and drawing , still do this from time to time but nowadays I love just painting with pure oils and my knives )
- Fine Art Shows:
- Manotick Art Association show
- Mayor of Ottawa’s Show (juried)
- Various shows in the Ottawa/Gatineau area
- Helped organize a show in Hull, QC which raised money for disabled adults education ( 2 years)
- Art on the Move Show (2015) organized to raise money for the Gatineau Hospital
- Sooke Fine Art Show 2019
- Art Mode, Ottawa, ON
- Tay Art Gallery, Perth, ON
- Tay Art Gallery, Kanata, ON
- Klimanteris Gallery, Montreal
- Gallery 133, Toronto
- Agora Gallery in New York
- Opened JD Stevenson Gallery in Chemainus in 2016 - closed in 2019.