- Guest Artist -
Today I introduce a passionate artist who was born in Hong Kong but has lived in Canada for many years - Richard Wong.
• TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR ARTISTIC JOURNEY.
I was born in Hong Kong in 1954, and emigrated to Canada with my folks when I was one. I spent my childhood appreciating the blue skies and flat lands of the great Canadian prairie. We relocated to the west coast where I completed my university education and started a successful career with the province of British Columbia within the Ministry of Environment.
My artistic journey did not begin until I retired from government work in 2009, and my wonderful wife, partner and life friend asked me what I wanted for the holiday season. For the life of me and to this day, I did not know why I said "a painting kit"!
• WERE YOU GOOD AT DRAWING AS A KID?
I don't have any previous art experience or training. What I do remember is doing a lot of finger painting. I don't think I was that good at anything artistic.
• WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME AN ARTIST?
I got my "painting kit" in December of 2010 and spent the next year learning all about brush control (chinese brush classes) and applying watercolor (watercolor lessons). It wasn't until the end of that year and in my chinese brush workshop that my teacher saw what I had painted in-class and said to me, "Richard, I think that painting is good enough to sell"!
That started things and gave me the idea and confidence that maybe, just maybe, I can make this thing called "art business" work. That painting of a "Duck & Plum Blossoms" has become the banner for my website.
• WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST?
I enjoy the peace and calm that making art brings me. But I think the greatest joy is seeing my work make a difference in other people's lives, and help bring a message that through art, the world can be a better place.
• WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING AN ARTIST?
For me, I think the hardest thing about being an artist is balancing the need to promote the business of art while maintaining a sense of humbleness. My oriental background and upbringing values humbleness. So I am constantly trying to keep this delicate balance.
But throughout all this, my journey of artistic and self-discovery; I have also learned how to celebrate one's successes.
• DO YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF, OTHERS OR BOTH?
I work, or should I say, I paint for myself first and foremost. I find the art that I create when the work is fun, joyful and meaningful, usually is liked the most by others. This is how I work and create, even the art that is represented by the galleries where I live.
• WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME AN ARTIST
I was a student, a civil servant and a family man...in that order.
• WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Two of my recent nature inspired pieces received some recognition at an international nature art competition and exhibition. I am using this recognition and validation of my work to portraying nature at its best to help nature oriented organizations raise funds, and to further their message of keeping and protecting all the beauty that nature has to offer and the wonderful creatures that live and grow within her.
• WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM?
Watercolor on masa rice paper, brush style.
• WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Nature in all its splendid glory and the "kodak" moments that everyday life has to offer.
• WHAT DO YOU PREFER TO PAINT OR ILLUSTRATE?
Most of my work is nature oriented and inspired, but I will paint anything that moves me or is screaming, "paint me"!
• DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR EMERGING ARTISTS?
Paint from your heart and what moves you.
• DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED SCHEDULE?
Not really. I usually try to do some painting every day.
• DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE TO WORK?
That would be my home studio which overlooks a back yard embraced by nature's small furry and feathered friends.
• WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN YOUR WORK?
The greatest joy is seeing an image take shape on paper, and knowing the joy, satisfaction and message that art will deliver to all viewers.
• WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE ARTIST / ILLUSTRATOR AND WHY?
Robert Bateman, world renowned naturalist and artist. He has dedicated his life and art to the betterment of the natural wonders that surround us.
• WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
"Richard, I think that painting is good enough to sell!", said my chinese brush teacher.
• WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
I am still waiting for that comment to arrive.
• HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?
That would be my first venture into international competition. I entered three images in an international nature art competition and exhibition. The "Raccoon" image shown here placed top 10, and the "Orca Whale" received a Special Recognition award.
• WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?
Needless to say, I was overjoyed, very pleased and most surprised. I was the last person to expect any results.
Recognition at this level means validation of my work as an artist. It means I can use my work to help others. It means I can help spread the message that our wonderful world and the many beautiful creatures, big and small, living and growing, is worth protecting and saving, all through my art.
• OTHER THAN DRAWING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love to bike, walk and practice Tai Chi. All these activities helps bring and maintain balance in my life.
• WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ALL WORLD LEADERS IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY?
Try to see the world through "artist's eyes". Try to see the good in nature, and that it's worth protecting. Try to use the universal language of "art" to talk to each other and to talk to all citizens. Is it not worth waking up to a vibrant, beautiful world full of love, life and happiness that only nature can bring?
• WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I am hoping that my nature inspired art work can bring peace and joy to people. I am also hoping that my work can be used by people and organizations everywhere to help with their missions and visions of saving, protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of our planet and the wonderful creations that live and grow within.
Like Robert Bateman, and many other celebrated naturalists and artists before me, I have dedicated a portion of my art and work towards helping all who wish to work towards preserving and protecting a little part of paradise, which we call Earth, the land, water, skies and all that lives and grows.
• HAVE YOU MET SOME GREAT PEOPLE ALONG THE WAY?
Yes, there are some, but I think the greatest people are those like you who give a little of their time and space to help people like me, with very little means, to further my work and dreams.
• DO YOU MENTOR OTHERS?
That is definitely a possibility in the future.
• WHAT IS THE BEST WAY FOR PEOPLE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
People can either contact me direct through my email or via my website.
- 3rd place, "American Ghost Orchid", Victoria Orchid Society Spring Gala, March 2013
- Honourable Mention, "Raccoon", 3rd Annual International "Nature" Art Competition, "Light, Space, Time" Online Gallery, February 2013
- Special Recognition, "Orca Killer Whale", 3rd Annual International "Nature" Art Competition, "Light, Space, Time" Online Gallery, February 2013
- "Bloom 5", Coast Collective Gallery, March 2013 (juried)
- "3rd Annual International Nature Art Exhibition", Light, Space, Time Online Gallery, March 2013 (juried)
- Solo Art Show, Saanich Municipal Hall galleries, Feb/Mar 2013 (by invitation)
- "Fair Fauna - A Benefit for Wild ARC", Metchosin Art Gallery, Feb/Mar 2013 (juried)
- "Coming Together", Coast Collective Gallery, February 2013 (juried)
- "Portals", Coast Collective Gallery, February 2013 (juried)
"Small Treasures V", Coast Collective Gallery, Nov/Dec. 2012 (juried)
"Artisan's Christmas Gift Gallery", Tulista Art Gallery, Nov/Dec. 2012 (juried)
Solo Art Show, "Songbirds of Victoria", Island Blue Art Store, Victoria, BC - October, 2012
Coast Collective Gallery, Pendray Collection, Victoria, BC - (juried)
Cafe Gallery, Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre, Victoria, BC - June, 2012
Island Blue Online Gallery, Victoria, BC - May, 2012, Featured Artist
13th Annual Victoria LOOK Fine Arts Exhibition - April/May, 2012
Artist in Residence - Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites - July, 2012 (Juried)
Resident Artist, Abkhazi Gardens, Victoria, BC
The Gallery in Oak Bay Village, Victoria, BC
Coast Collective Gallery, Victoria, BC
Clancy's comment: Love your passion, Richard ... and your work.