Artist Denys Cook will be displaying a sample of his work at the Arts Center at Cedar Hill next week, returning to the forum he once taught up-and-coming painters.
Cook, 93, a wildlife artist who rose to prominence in Canada in the 1970s and ‘80s, will show 15 or 20 of his favourite acrylic and water colour wildlife and nature paintings, and a few rarely seen British scraperboard pieces, a technique of scratching away India ink painted over white porcelain.
The show runs June 12 to 17 in the cafe gallery of the Cedar Hill arts centre. Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria board member Sheila Blake said the galleries are booked solid, but she invited Cook to show his work, thanks to a last minute cancellation.
“It’s very hard. You have to book months ahead,” she said. “There are so many artists in Victoria. We have 500 in the community arts council alone.”
Cook taught painting at the centre about 12 years ago. He stopped painting this year after his eyesight started failing to a point he couldn’t see detail. He uses a magnifying device to sketch.
Cook, who survived five years as a prisoner in a German camp in the Second World War, had a successful career as a high-ranking Alberta civil servant, and then a long and lucrative career as a professional artist, hasn’t displayed his work in a gallery in decades.
By his own count, he has 900 paintings in storage, and a few dozen in his apartment at the Victorian McKenzie seniors home in Saanich.
“I’m enjoying showing my work again,” he said. “I’m limited to what I can do now.”
For more on the Art Centre at Cedar Hill, see saanich.ca/parkrec/recreation/arts.