About the Artists

spirit-way-guide_page_18_image_0006Robert Bateman

The original “Wolf Sketch” art was painted in 1990 by Robert Bateman. Robert Bateman, a keen naturalist since childhood, began painting nature at the age of twelve moving through various styles. In his early 30’s, he returned to realism as the only style that renders the particularity of nature.

By the 1970’s, Bateman’s paintings achieved international recognition. His many one-man museum shows include the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC that drew record-breaking crowds. The subject of several films and books, his numerous honours and awards include Officer of the Order of Canada.

Bateman took a Geography degree at the University of Toronto then taught for 20 years, including two years in Nigeria. A round-the-world trip (1957/58) increased his appreciation of cultural and natural heritage. Since leaving teaching in 1976 to paint full-time, he has travelled widely with his artist/conservationist wife Birgit. Active in many conservation organizations, his work has provided millions of dollars for worthy causes.

“I can’t conceive of anything being more varied, rich and handsome than planet Earth; its crowning beauty is the natural world. I want to soak it up, to understand it . . . then put it together and express it in my painting. This is the way I want to dedicate my life.”

Bateman’s message for “Wolf Sketch” is one of “eye to eye with respect”. He states, “Wolves – gregarious family animals – do not often stare directly at man, or at each other for that matter. They are creatures of complex, almost chivalrous behaviour, and perhaps they feel that eye to eye staring would be rude and almost confrontational. They do indeed make direct eye contact if they intend to confront. Perhaps this is why we find the direct gaze of a wolf so compelling. This drawing was executed on very rough paper because I wanted to give a feeling of the rough power of a wild wolf.”

www.robertbateman.ca

Charles Johnston Bio

charlesI grew up in Manitoba’s Interlake and call Winnipeg home. To me, the open skies of the prairies are the penultimate canvas: never a misplaced stroke, perpetual poetry.

Perhaps it was the sheer scale of this inspirational canvas that called me to mural work, perhaps it was my time as a sign painter that permanently altered my sense of scale; I don’t know.

I do know that I’ve always seen both sides to every story, the perennial middle man. I think that it is this character trait that allowed me to simultaneously develop multiple skills and styles in painting, sculpture, mixed media and digital technology.

It is this same trait that has allowed me to work collaboratively on public art and develop my art into an independent business practice. I am a creative corporation. I am C5.

Re: Mural

I’ve painted some large murals in the past, and I’ve done more than my share of ‘photo-mural’ type work. However, when I came to Thompson to paint the wolf mural I found myself challenged by the scope of the project in every way imaginable. It was everything I aspire to when I create large scale works; there was a poetry to the event of creating, a sense of something even larger at work. It was true to the spirit of the place; I was on another kind of frontier. The spirit of the wolf was with me as I worked above the treeline of Thompson. I felt like a true icon of the north was being born.