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Artist Spotlight: Gordon Towne

Gordon Towne has never exhibited his work before this year and we are so excited to have him as a member of the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District with three pieces in our current exhibition 'Stories of the Forest". We admired his beautiful brushwork and movement with ink that we reached out to him to learn a little more about his inspirations as an artist.

"I have always drawn instinctively, but in art school I decided that painting was obsolete and experimented with video images and photography. I liked Kodalith film, which gave a high contrast print with very dense blacks and allowed a range of unusual effects in the darkroom.

A career in the movie industry as a scenic painter followed during the 80's, 90's ( that's painting on an industrial scale! ) and I found that painting may not be obsolete after all.

It was a course given by a visiting Japanese calligraphy master that inspired an interest in the dynamic possibilities of ink and brush. Making that first very black line on the emptiness of a white surface was exciting. However, this beginning lay dormant for years.

After moving to the island, I began wandering a little by oar and sail through our coastal waters, absorbing the endless variations of clouds meeting rock meeting water, the forests that have evolved from a few seeds, uniquely, on every island and outcrop and the contrasts of light and shadow everywhere. I picked up the brush again... a quick and direct way of drawing on memories of the the yins and yangs of our landscape... sort of  'mental photographs'.

Images above from left to right: Weather Shore #3, Beach Path #5, Ink #3

Eventually, I became aware that what I was doing is an ancient practice.

"Sumi-e  (meaning ink painting ) was introduced into Japan in the 14th C. by Zen Buddhist monks. The goal of Sumi-e is to capture the perceived 'spirit' or 'essence' of a subject over direct imitation."

I find this kind of 'meditation' very satisfying, and am moving towards more abstraction and a larger format. I am grateful to this very welcoming gallery for providing an opportunity to share my work."

View Gordon's work along with other artists for our current online exhibition 'Stories of the Forest'. 📲

To purchase work from our exhibitions, please contact the gallery at


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