Richard Wong worked as a policy analyst for the Ministry of Environment for 25 years, and now he draws inspiration for his paintings from nature and wildlife.
Wong, 60, and three other artists from Greater Victoria, will be featured at Goward House as part of the Inspired by Nature exhibit.
“All four of us are nature inspired, [but] we use different mediums and techniques,” said Wong. “It’s just a natural fit.”
Wong uses Chinese brushes and watercolour paints to paint wildlife on dry masa paper.
Having spent much of his life busy working in government and raising a family, Wong said he hadn’t had the chance to explore his creative side until after retirement. His wife bought him a watercolour paint set for Christmas in 2010, because he decided he should try something new.
“I have no idea why art came into my mind,” he said. “I had no experience prior to that, no interest in art.”
Wong took some lessons and started entering art shows, despite being nervous. He even taught his own workshops, showing others how he uses his brushes with the watercolour paint.
Wong’s art has now been seen around the world, because he had the chance to go on an art exchange for four weeks to Cairns, Australia this past summer.
“Before, I was just painting for myself for fun,” said Wong. “Ever since I got back from Australia where I painted the topic endangered species, I had a greater purpose. It’s great to be able to use your art and capture the endangered species theme and spread awareness at the same time.”
Having only started painting a few years ago, Wong already considers it his second career.
“Life does not end after you retire,” said Wong. “After you retire, the main thing is to find something that you are interested in and just go ahead and do it and enjoy it.”
Wong said he will continue to paint for as long as he enjoys it.
“It just seems to be getting better and better,” he said.
The Inspired by Nature art show opens at Goward House today (Sept. 26) and runs until Oct. 29.