Currently      Gallery      Original Prints      Books      Bio      Contact      Home

July – August

My first "Work-in-progress" studio show was held on May 26th. This was, in effect, a studio warming – a private showing for the collectors who purchased one of the pieces from my first edition of etchings: "Magna Mater Deorum." (See link immediately below) I am currently working toward another solo show at Loch Gallery (Toronto), and have already set aside approximately eight pieces. I will probably have another studio show, for my current collectors, later this year.

In early June I headed to England for a long-overdue vacation, so I am a little behind with updates as I opted to do as little work as possible during my time away. I will include more images and information (including my latest essay) with my next update email. To balance my last piece, Art: The Dark Side I will be following up with: On the bright side. In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy the images in my new Gallery, Original Prints, and the pictures and links below.

To receive regular (usually bi-monthly) updates, fill out the mailing list request form: "Contacts"

Having just returned from the Isle of Man, this latest update has been somewhat delayed. A more complete update will be sent out to my mailing list subscribers, but the two highlights of this years trip were: Tynwald. The Manx outdoor parliament, which takes place on Tynwald Hill, in the Town of St.Johns, every July 5th – and has done since 979 AD.

And in keeping with the mountain theme of my previous updates, an ascent of Scafell in Cumbria, the highest of England's peaks and the last in our extended version of the UK three peaks challenge.

The mist, rain and wind added to the sense of adventure, though it didn't do much for the view. My friends Andrew and Keith wait for me to snap yet another picture, before we disappear into the clouds above. Scafell is 3209 ft, the smallest of the UK three peaks (Ben Nevis -- Scotland, 2008 -- is 4409ft and Snowdon -- Wales, 2010 -- is 3560ft) but, on this day at least, on the slippery rocks, Scafell was the toughest. Keith (left) as you may recal from earlier updates, is also an artist. His work can be seen at:

In the recent updates (November and Dec - Jan) were stories about Orizaba: A photo journal of the actual climb, in Dec 2011, and an earlier piece about my journey to the town of Orizaba in Feb 2010. Twenty-two years after I first becoming aware of this place, I decided to see the mountain with my own eyes. Pico de Orizaba, however, remained elusive for almost the entire duration of my trip, hidden in heavy cloud. When she finally did show herself, a veil of thick mist remained, seductively draped across the summit, but a glimpse of her glistening slopes convinced me that I should return, and attempt an accent.
Why Orizaba?  In 1988 >>>
Pico de Orizaba
Acrylic on Canvas - 12" x 14" - 2012


Delta II
My own
Dec - Jan

September 1988

Back in Toronto following two weeks in the Queen Charlotte islands...

Among the various letters that arrived during my time away, was a sturdy cardboard mailing tube. The label attached was that of a design firm for whom I'd recently worked. I immediately tore open one end and slid the contents out onto my desk. The glossy stock, which had been carefully rolled to fit, unraveled as I removed the rubber band. I ran my hands across the coated side of the paper to flattening it and turned on the lamp. Straight from the press, cropped, but not yet run through the folding machine, was a dust jacket from my most recent illustration project: Hells Angels: Taking care of business. I studied it carefully under the light, then opened the Archive drawer of my plan file and dropped it in.

Print proofs of all the projects I'd undertaken this year had pride of place in the top drawer, although they had not yet been organized or placed into individual portfolio sleeves. Earlier pieces - Old Wars, Green Future, Tears of the Moon and others - were loosely scattered about. It had been a busy year.

In reality, it had not yet been a year. Illustrating book covers, the latest in a series of occupations, had seemed one of the more promising career prospects to come along – and seeing my three latest projects at the airport bookstore, in one visit, did rather reinforce this feeling. Somehow though, I knew the venture had run its course.

However much I had enjoyed painting these images, they held no personal meaning. In any case, they would be forever associated with the author's name, and not my own. My work over this past year, which was solely a means of promoting the thoughts and ideas of others, would represent just the faintest of blips on the radar of popular culture. But I was not the least concerned, the wilderness had a hold on me now, timeless and sublime. All I could think of was capturing the Queen Charlotte Islands in paintings of my own.

Painting the things I wanted to paint, for a living, was perhaps not all that farfetched – as scary as this idea had first seemed. In many respects, painting was an occupation as old as the world I wanted to capture, and this had a very definite appeal. Back in the mists of time, people had rendered images on the walls of caves, and tens of thousands of years later, painters were still creating images to hang on walls. Next to hunting and gathering, this might well be the oldest profession in the world – other claims to that title not withstanding.

Whatever spirit had possessed the artists of the Pleistocene to enter the cool, dark depths of the underworld – to recreate the world they had known – was still at work. Perhaps it spoke to them in this same strangely familiar, yet almost unintelligible language? Or maybe, living much closer to natural world, they understood clearly what had been asked of them? I was a product of the modern world however, and all I understood was that the wilderness was calling, and that I needed to share this wild and beautiful corner of the world.

It was well into September now and the northern coast of British Columbia is no place to spend the winter, though a conversation I'd had earlier in the year suddenly came back to me. A friend had talked about taking a break following university to spend a season in the mountains skiing, and, if need be, working as a lift operator or waitress to cover the expenses. I'd jokingly suggested that I'd move there too (if she needed help with the rent) and set up a little studio to do my own work. I'd not taken this seriously at all at the time at the time, but now, it seemed like the perfect solution.

Sadly, when I called to see how the plan had progressed, it hadn't. Instead, she had decided to carry on with her studies, and was already back at university. Renting a place on my own would have been more costly than I expected, and I wasn't entirely convinced that sharing accommodation was a good idea either. I had met a few “Liftys” in the past. An atmosphere of quiet contemplation and high culture was not one I immediately associated with this experience. Artistic pursuit amidst piles of ski equipment, sweat socks and empty beer cans was pretty much a nonstarter, and I knew my own weaknesses too; the lure of the slopes, for one, would have been irresistible – I'd probably have never spent a moment at my easel. So a winter at Whistler was not in the cards – yet that image of snow covered mountains still had a hold on me.

During the early part of the summer – around the same time that this skiing excursion had come to light – I'd happened across of brightly colored Mexican travel guide in a local book shop, and was captivated by one of the images it contained: A snow-covered peak thrusting high into the clouds, surrounded at its base by lush green fields and forests. It was a landscape that wouldn't have looked out of place in Switzerland, and this image had played on my mind ever since. As I wouldn't be heading to Whistler, it occurred to me that Mexico might just fit the bill.

Having decided to become a painter (in the more artistic sense of the word), I would certainly need a place to escape the distractions and – at that time – easy money of commercial art. The phone wasn't going to ring with another tantalizing job proposal, if I lost myself in the wilds of Mexico Although this beautiful country has a rich cultural heritage, particularly in the twentieth century (with respect to muralists, painters and photographers) there was absolutely nothing in the guidebooks about the town of Orizaba. Jalapa, however, the capital city of Veracruz state, was just eighty-some miles away. A summer retreat for the Spanish when they had first arrived in Mexico, it was now a major a university town. The country's second most important archeological museum was situated here, most famously though, Jalapa was home of the Jalapeño pepper and the giant stone heads of the Olmec; now that was culture. I had a little homework to do, but Veracruz sounded like just the place.

Further reading, and referrence from: Art: The Dark Side

Design and Crime Hal Foster
The Fountainhead Ayn Rand
The 12 Million Dollar Shark:   The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art – Don Thompson
Seven Days in the Art World Sarah Thornton
Amusing ourselves to Death Neil Postman
Death of the Liberal Class Chris Hedges – Chapter IV  Politics of Spectacle
A Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Empire of Illusion Chris Hedges

For orders, more details, and a list of works to be included, please see:  Information – Inquires

The Journey and the painter's Muse has, over the past few months, evolved into a much larger
project, further details will be available soon.   Thank you for your continuing interest.


© W. David Ward All rights reserved

eXTReMe Tracker