My town is home to a lot of artists, some of them quite well known. Two of them are over 90 years of age and still working. Gordon Smith was born (in England) in 1919, and John Koerner was born (in Prague) in 1913. As artists, they have both been primarily painters of the world around them. Above is November Sea 1973 by Gordon Smith.

I think of Mr Smith as a landscape painter, even when you can’t necessarily pinpoint the piece of land he painted. Above is SA11 Landscape 1965, recently sold at auction, seen here.

This one he called Blue Twist 1970. I know where Blue River is, but I suspect this is somewhere else. When asked, Gordon Smith said that he paints not to illustrate a piece of the world, but to depict what it’s like to experience it. Seen here.

Above is Wet Night 1953 property of our own Vancouver Art Gallery. I know this experience.

This is Winter Sea. For me, Mr Smith’s creative gift has shown itself most beautifully and most originally in his depictions of our Pacific seashore. The winter sea in these parts is often exactly like that, but we didn’t know it until this painting told us. Seen here.

There is a book of his work if you can’t get to see the work itself, which would be a shame. I swear the stuff I saw that he did last year at the age of 90 had the energy, joyousness, and sure hand of a man in his prime. Which he is of course.

Above at his home in West Vancouver designed by his friend Arthur Erickson. From an article last year in Vancouver Magazine, here. Nice photo by Brian Howell, website here.

John Koerner is older than Gordon Smith by 6 years. He was born in Prague to a family that would make quite a name for itself in business in Canada. Significant buildings at our largest university bear the Koerner name. But John wanted to paint. Above is part of his Lighthouse series. #85. Go here

Another lighthouse piece from 1962. Seen here

And this one above lives at our house. It’s called Lighthouse Flower.

This known as Eden 30. Seen here. Yes, the water, sky, foliage, and how you feel about it looks just like that sometimes.

But where are the painters now? There is still beautiful land and water hereabouts. Still talented painters. But the two don’t seem to get together much. It’s as if the beauty of the place we live in was off limits for a serious artist. Not suitable for framing. I hope that changes. We need them as much as we need engineers and dentists. Here’s a few who might lead the way.

Erin McSavaney Rural Study No. 1, 2010. Equinox Gallery Vancouver. Here

Tim Gardner. Found here

Margaretha Bootsma. Photo painted over. Very Vancouver. From BauXi gallery. go here for more.

I hope that right now someone in my town is planning to GO OUTSIDE and paint the experience of being there. You don’t have to be over 90 to do that.

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