Artist's Statement

I started oil painting when I was 12, and except for occasional work in pastels and watercolours, I remain an oil painter.

My art education was directed mostly towards pleasure, especially when I was a very young art student. Although I had many teachers over the years, there was the common thread among them that the student’s enjoyment of the activity was of major importance. As I matured, I became more serious about my art education, but the essential element of loving what I did was never abandoned.

I have painted a wide range of subjects, and have learned that there is beauty in even the most ordinary subject if one looks hard enough. Although I am best known for my mountain landscapes, many other subjects interest me, not the least of which are the boats and harbours of Canada’s coasts.

My first outdoor painting experience was at Stanley Park in Vancouver, when I was 14. That added a whole new dimension to my art education, and was the first small step I made towards my approach to much of my painting today.

I go on many trips each year, and almost all are planned so that I can have ample opportunity to paint outdoors. Dean and I have visited, and I have painted in, locations as diverse as the Apache Trail in Arizona and the secluded harbours of Vancouver Island and Newfoundland. Between these lengthier trips, I will often meet with other artists for a day or two of field work, or simply go it alone with Dean.

Although I enjoy painting the landscape from life, there are many conditions in this part of the world that prohibit artists from doing so, winter weather being the most obvious. Thus, winter time becomes studio time, a period when I can finish my smaller outdoor pieces, and execute my larger works by using my photographs as references. But when all is said and done, there is nothing quite like being outside in all kinds of weather while trying to get the essence of that tree or that mountain captured on canvas or paper. It is a humbling, but rewarding, experience.

When I was younger, and when a wide variety of artistic liberties and personal expression in art were considered desirable for success, I did not pay much attention to the small details that were waiting to be discovered in my subjects. But gradually over the course of many years, my technique became more refined and my observation more focused, so that my earlier, more casual renditions no longer satisfied me. So today, although I have not completely abandoned a modest degree of self expression, particularly in my use of colour, I consider myself a “realist” painter.

Jean Geddes