I started my career as an artist in Elementary School. I did a painting of a little native girl for an art class assignment. After I handed it in, I got 26 orders from the teachers to paint them each one. I made $5 per painting. I remember thinking… “Gee, I could maybe make enough money to do this for a living one day!” I then got into doing portraits of friends and family in Jr. High and High School. It was my main source of income as a teenager. I really just wanted to be a fine artist, but my parents always reminded me that most artists were starving artists. So, once I graduated High School, they thought it would be a good idea for me to get an engineering degree because I had okay grades and the oil patch was booming. I got accepted to the U of A Engineering Program and that lasted about three months. I knew I needed to do something creative with my life.
The next year I enrolled in the Alberta College of Art (aka U of Arts today). Four years later I had a degree in Visual Communications and enjoyed over 30 years living in Calgary as an Art Director and Creative Director for various local and multi-national advertising agencies. It was a very rewarding career, but after 30+ years, I was becoming a dinosaur in that fast-paced and quickly changing industry. I was just directing, not actually doing. I began doing fine art on the side, painting wildlife to fulfill my creative urges. Everything I painted seem to sell, so in the back of my mind I started to think about becoming a full-time painter.
Then everything seemed to line up.
I acquired some land and built a cabin at Edward’s Lake just south of Fernie. When COVID hit, my wife and I decided to isolate out there and quickly realized that we could live there, full time and be very happy. There is just something about living in nature that gives me peace and contentment, and the inspiration to paint. I decided to build an art studio on that land, so when I finally got packaged out of my career in advertising last year, I was ready to pick up the brush. This was the opportunity and right time to pursue my pent-up passion for painting.
Fast forward to today, I am doing it! I currently use acrylic paint on stretched canvas for all my originals. I like the fast drying time and how I can work in lots of texture and layers quickly. My contemporary wildlife images have been described as “perfectly imperfect.” I love the process and seeing how my individual style is unfolding. I never really know where my paintings will take me. It’s an adventure in itself.
This past year I was accepted as a working member at The Fernie Arts Coop. I’ve really enjoyed working there and getting to know the amazing local artists in this community.
In addition, one of my fox images just got accepted in the 2023 Fernie Banner Project, so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m trying to be true to who I am and create art that is informed by my experiences. I spend a lot of my time in the woods patiently observing the patterns of nature and the movement of wild animals. All this inspiration comes to life on canvas in my studio at the lake. I’m really excited about my new life in this wonderful community and all the natural inspiration the East Kootenays have to offer. I will never let go of my quest for adventure and my passion for painting majestic creatures. It’s what feeds my soul. I’m finally doing what I was born to do and living in the Fernie area has been instrumental in my journey as an artist.
To view Ric’s work, visit the Fernie Arts Co-op, Art on 9th in Invermere BC, Art Country Canada in Canmore, AB, Grant Berg Gallery in Grande Prairie AB, Black Spruce Gallery in Waskesui, SK, head to his site ricfedynastudios.com or follow him on socials @ricfedynartist.