Colour, Form and Energy – Smithers Interior News
– Words by David Wylie Photography by Darren Hull
In the early thirties, Rick Bond found himself in a new house with bare walls. The pharmacist had just moved to the Okanagan with his young family.
And that’s how he started making art to fill the empty space.
“I knew I had to do something creative, but I didn’t know what it was,” he said in a recent interview.
Rick started with illustrations and cartoons for his sons. Then he watched instructional videos and bought some paint, which he put on his kitchen table.
“Something just clicked. I just became absolutely dedicated,” the Vernon-based artist said.
It was a time jump. Born in Victoria, Rick grew up in the Gulf Islands off the coast of British Columbia. His first memory of being enthusiastic about art was in elementary school, when he made a pencil drawing of an atmospheric cloud and a boat on the water.
“I very clearly remember being thrilled with how it looked like a cloud and then going into an artistic stupor for 30 years,” he said.
Rick went to the University of British Columbia in the late 1960s to study pharmacy. From James Island he moved to Burnaby, then to Victoria for seven years, before finally settling in the Okanagan.
“I kicked my left brain for about three decades,” he said. “It’s the opposite of art. I didn’t really discover art until I got to Vernon.
Living in Coldstream and working at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Rick has found time on the weekends or after his shifts to pursue his passion. He started by watching videos of Bill Alexander, creator and host of The magic of oil painting TV shows. It was easy to follow and learn the technical basics, he said.
Rick began attending art workshops regularly and all of this learning coalesced into his own unique, loose and dynamic style in a way that could be considered contemporary impressionism.
“I started looking at what turned me on aesthetically, and that was abstract art, colorful art, and unique designs,” he said.
Rick joined the Okanagan Artists League and was encouraged when his work was used to advertise an art exhibit. (He still has that essential painting.) During one fateful workshop, fellow artist Brian Atyeo encouraged Rick to leave “the comfort of the nest and fly away on his own,” telling him he had to go paint himself. -same.
Rick’s artistic life even offered surprises during working hours at the hospital. He remembers being called on the AP, when he was director of operations for the pharmacy, to respond to a call from a gallery owner who wanted to carry his work. In 2006 Rick left the pharmacy to create art full time.
He has now been painting for over 40 years, including the illustrations he created for his children in the 70s.
Rick started out with oil paints, but over the years moved on to other types of paint, out of concern for toxicity. He tries his hand at watercolor painting, which he likes, but their production is expensive because they have to be framed under glass before sending them to galleries. Some have sold and some have not.
“It was getting too expensive,” he said.
Using acrylics became a practical solution, as he didn’t have to frame them, just send them to galleries as canvases. But acrylic also suits his style: “I like to paint quickly. I like to paint with a lot of energy,” he said.
Rick’s paintings start out as photos, turn into sketches and are then painted on canvas. His subject presents a bit of a dichotomy; he paints both landscapes and musicians.
“I love jazz. It has this abstract quality. I love the aesthetics of the instruments,” he said.
Musical paintings provided a break from landscapes and allowed Rick to explore compositions. He said the color, shape and energy are similar in both genders. Moreover, few people paint musicians.
Working for decades in pharmacy gave Rick left-brain/right-brain harmony, helping him to become a professional artist, including his commitment to administration, communications, finance and other hidden aspects of the craft.
“The business side of art really came from the discipline in pharmacy,” he said. “I’m really grateful to have been exposed to this training.”
Rick also does errands, some of them for big companies, like Coca-Cola.
“It’s a tougher job up front. You have to spend quite a bit of time talking to the customer to get a really good idea of what they’re looking for,” he said.
Rick’s paintings can be found in galleries across Canada, including Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan. In the Okanagan, see his work at Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna. His works are also in the Madrona Gallery in Victoria.
For more on Rick Bond, visit rickbondart.com
Story courtesy of Boulevard magazinea publication of Black Press Media