Sitting in meetings as a manager for B.C. Systems, Paul Redchurch would doodle on his notepad.
“If I saw a blank piece of paper I’d just draw on it,” he said. “Sometimes I’d hand a sketch of the speaker to him at the end of the meeting.”
When he retired in 1995, a colleague gave him a collection of computer punch cards Redchurch had drawn on. “I’d just tossed them away, but he’d saved some and put them into a scrapbook.”
Redchurch started seriously drawing and painting after he retired. But it’s taken until this year to host a solo show.
His watercolour and acrylic paintings of birds and landscapes, as well as pen-and-ink sketches of British towns, are on display at Goward House in Saanich for the month of October. And while most artists would be looking forward to the profits, Redchurch, 71, intends to give them away.
“Life’s not all about me. I’ve been a very fortunate person and I want to give; hopefully make someone else’s life better.”
Revenue from sales, minus a gallery fee, will be donated to the Victoria Human Exchange Society, a charity Redchurch favours.
Thirty years ago he organized Oak Bay’s Knights of Columbus chapter and in 2003 the volunteer group helped the Victoria Human Exchange Society set up McGivney House, a transition home in Vic West for men.
Redchurch didn’t take his first art course until after he retired, and even then he signed up only to find out what tools and supplies he’d need in order to draw. “Art is a personal thing and I didn’t want to be tainted by someone saying ‘you can’t do this, you have to do it this way.’”
He is likely best known in Oak Bay as the founder of Garagellenium. He suggested the idea to Millennium celebration organizers more than a decade ago and organized it once the idea was accepted. “I knew a lot of people like garage sales, and if done properly, they can make a lot of money,” he said.
The event proved so popular he ran it for another seven years before current organizer Graham Lamb took over.
Redchurch immigrated to Canada from England with his family when he was 17. They arrived in Halifax and took the train across the country, ending up in Victoria, where he’s lived all his life.
Sitting in his studio, a back bedroom in his Monterey Avenue home, he points to a prairie landscape he recently finished. “It looked like that, except covered in snow,” he said, recalling his view from the train window.
A Sharing of Life’s Gifts shows at Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Rd., until Oct. 31. For more information about Victoria Human Exchange Society, go to www.humanx.org.