I knew I could draw and paint from an early age. but I didn’t start painting seriously until nearing retirement from my regular job. My wife, Bev, bought me a Robert Bateman book for my birthday and I knew then that painting was something I would like to do. About the wildlife art I looked at, I said, “I can do that!”
Having spent all my recreation time outdoors hiking, fishing, skiing, hunting and camping along with studying ecology—painting came naturally. I am self-taught and I use my natural ability to paint nature the way I see it. I paint in my studio nearly every morning that I’m at home and find it distracting to paint outdoors.
We love to travel and walk in the footsteps of the great artists, viewing landscapes across Canada and Europe. At a potential site for a painting, I take numerous photographs of the subject from different angles and distances. Back in my studio, I put a scene together the way I want it to look. I enjoy this creativity and use my photos only for technical details. I choose nature’s colours and my colours for the way I want to see it. Observation of nature is important to me for studying shadows, transparency, movement of water in creeks, falls and lakes as well as falling snow and shapes of clouds and sky colours ranging from grey, blue and green.
I very seldom use a preliminary sketch; I like to paint directly onto my canvases. To start, I usually apply a base coat of Titanium White; for example, If I’m painting a sky, I apply numerous thin layers of short and long dashes of every colour of blue with some green, yellow, orange and mauve! Paint is used like water colours and I build up the tones I want. I don’t worry about composition.
My favourite artist is Claude Monet because of the way he uses colours and brush strokes. When we visit big city art galleries, I study famous painters’ use of colours and brush strokes.
Every one of my paintings has a story. I paint for myself and from my experiences. Although I’ve experimented in early years with other painting styles, such as impressionism, I found it difficult to move away from realism. However, I’m looking at a change from pure realism to abstract impressionism.
I received recognition for my work at juried art shows and a painting was selected as one of three finalists from across Canada for the Readers’ Digest magazine. I have active member status with the Federation of Canadian Artists.
I am a member of the Fernie Arts Co-op, the Cranbrook and District Art Gallery and Friends of Yoho which operates a gift shop in Field, BC. My art is online at delyeaart.com as well as on Facebook and Instagram.