Esquimalt artist fuses East with West

Esquimalt Arts Festival this weekend will bring together artists from painters to carvers and include family creation stations

Richard Wong be among the artists at the arts festival in Esquimalt this weekend.

Richard Wong is an artist, and no one is more surprised by it than the artist himself.

Now 58, he picked up a paint brush for the first time in early 2011. “My partner Jackie (Swan) asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said, ‘maybe a sketch pad.’ I don’t know why I even said that.”

The water colour kit sat unopened for a while, then Wong registered for an art class at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre. “One of the first water colours I painted was a hut. Then when I painted behind it, I just touched the hut with the water and it disappeared. It was very frustrating. I almost quit,” he said.

Instead, he signed up for Chinese brush lessons with Kileasa Wong, the foremost teacher of traditional Chinese painting in Victoria. At the end of his second session of classes the instructor told him his work was “good enough to sell.”

“That just planted a seed in me,” he said.

From there Wong, who has lived in Esquimalt for seven years, dove into the art world, expanding his horizons with Western brush technique and showing his work at the Victoria Look Show. “I was very apprehensive about it,” said Wong. “I was not quite sure I was ready.”

During the show he was approached by Greater Victoria Community Arts Council president Bob Williams, who asked him to join the board. “I’m like: ‘say what?’ Those things don’t happen to me.”

Wong joined the board in May. He was resident artist at Abkhazi Gardens and artist in residence at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites in July where he taught an introduction to Chinese Brush Painting workshop.

“It was fun. It was over capacity with people who wanted to take the class. I was taken by surprise. I thought, I’ve just started to learn and here I am standing in front of a crowd,” he said with awe in his voice.

After a 25-year career in the ministry of environment, Wong retired in 2009. Up until his unusual request for a sketch pad he “didn’t have an artistic bone” in his body, but now gets great pleasure from creating his fusion of eastern and western methods.

“As long as I’m painting and I continue to be enjoying it and satisfied, I’ll keep going,” said Wong. The public can meet Wong and see him work at the Esquimalt Arts Festival on Aug. 12. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the English Inn and Resort, 429 Lampson St.

 

Painters, photographers, musicians, carvers and other local artists will be displaying and demonstrating their art. There will be creation stations where families can participate in free art projects. Learn more about Wong at richardwong

watercolors.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

International, Disney and Hallmark films set to be filmed in Victoria in 2019

Local and international production companies seeking out film locations in town

Toy Run organizer says motorcyclists unfairly targeted

Motorcycle toy drive returns Sept. 29 to Turkey Head

Saanich councillor wants the municipality to support opponents of Quebec’s secularism bill

Councillors will debate notice of motion from Coun. Zac de Vries on Aug. 12

‘Goodness prevails’: neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Martin Payne was found dead in his Metchosin home on Friday. Police have confirmed foul play.

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Most Read