1943-1960's What if
A young boy saw life through the eyes of an artist?
I was ten years old when I first met Ernst Lindner, Order of Canada honouree and one of the founders of the University of Saskatchewan’s Emma Lake School of Art Campus. At the time, he was Head of the Art Department at the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate. His daughter sat in front of me in grade four. On parent/teacher night, my paintings on the bulletin board of Victoria Elementary School caught his eye. He mentored me through the rest of public school and part of high school until his retirement.
His replacement for my grade 11 and 12 years was Robert Murray who is now an established sculptor in the New York scene. During those years, I had the opportunity to help him create the maquettes (models) for Raindancer, a controversial sculpture and fountain that graces the entrance to Saskatoon City Hall. This sculpture was the first to break with Canadian tradition in public art.
Throughout high school, I apprenticed part-time as a commercial artist in a large printing firm. At the U. of S., I worked part-time as a commercial artist at Federated CO-OP and also opened and operated the campus poster shop producing print materials for the various student bodies.
As an undergraduate, I studied under several of Canada’s leading abstract painters including Otto Rogers, Ken Lockheed and Elie Bornstein, Head of the Art Department from 1950 to 1971. I was also highly influenced by a neighbour, Robert Hurley, who had also studied under Ernie Lindner but a decade earlier. Their realist approach of capturing a moment in time and space often feature in my paintings today.
My abstract leanings come from Bornstein and Rogers but in the form of sculpture. I had the pleasure of spending my final year studying almost exclusively under Bill Epp. We worked in wood or welded steel creating some marvelous pieces.
I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts from the U. of S. in 1967. I was determined that the starving artist living in a garret was not for me. I promised my mother I would get serious about painting when I was older, after seeing the world and becoming rich and famous. Well, I saw the world and got older.