Morning paddle, Bowren Lake, 20 x 30John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 16, 2022 at 15:05

By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Studio Connexion’s next feature artist is living proof you’re never too old to try something new.

Brian Buckrell had never picked up a paintbrush until he retired as a veterinarian and university professor in 2001. But through discipline, training, and hard work, he has created a very successful post-retirement career for himself.

“I paint full time. My paintings are reflective of my love of the outdoors, agriculture and rural communities,” he says on his website. “The more I paint, the more my work moves towards abstracted impressions of my subjects. My collectors tell me that they share the joy I experience in interpreting the Canadian landscape.”

Buckrell spent the first few years after retirement travelling to workshops and learning from professional painters in individual and formal classrooms. 

Painting in oils and acrylics, and most recently digitally, Buckrell has won competitions and awards for both his studio and plein air paintings.

His work has been in national art magazines including Arabella, South West Art and Plein Air Today. He is also featured in the North Light Books: The Best of Acrylic Painters, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He’s now invited to teach at plein air conventions across Canada and the US. During the pandemic, he began holding online classes, something he says he’s enjoyed immensely.

“To have people come to this old guy and spending their money and time – I just finished a week’s workshop here – and it’s just a great honour that folks would come out to spend a week with me. I just cherish the whole thing.”

Buckrell is also a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, the Society of Canadian Artists and the Ontario Society of Artists.

While he travels seasonally between homes on Vancouver Island and Ontario, this is Buckrell’s first foray into the Kootenays in many years. He says he was approached by Studio Connexion owner Anne Beliveau to sell individual paintings last year. That turned out to be successful, and now he’s going to show at the gallery – his first solo show in several years.

“I know a number of artists in there, and I respect them,” he says. “They wouldn’t be staying there if they weren’t happy or being treated well. They know Anne and are confident in her, and that gives me confidence. And I’ve been impressed by her energy.”

Buckrell says he’s picked a “variety of things” to show the Nakusp audience. “It’s in honour of BC, but I didn’t do a theme. It’s mostly focusing on the feel of spring or summertime – a happy time, a happy place. I tried to do some that remind me of the Monashees – rolling hills, mountains, with the lakes.”

Pushing 80 now, Buckrell continues to enjoy his new career and hopes to inspire other seniors to try new things.

“If I have had success, it’s because others have shared their skills and information with me,” he says. “It’s my responsibility to pass that on. It’s all part of the game of art.”

Buckrell’s show will be at the Studio Connexion Gallery in Nakusp from June 21 to July 9.

This item reprinted with permission from Valley Voice, New Denver, British Columbia