Ron began painting as a career a little late in life. At age 35, he was inspired, after seeing an exhibition of original bird paintings by Fenwick Lansdowne, to try painting wildlife himself. His first effort was successful and he quit work at the lumberyard and began painting full time.
Using watercolours, a medium with which he was familiar, he began doing vignetted paintings of birds and mammals. Within four months, he was selling originals through the Harrison Gallery in Vancouver, B.C.
As a young man, Ron had been a basketball player and the Canadian decathlon champion in 1966. Using the discipline and perseverance learned in athletics, he applied himself full time to improving his art.
In 1982, after having moved to the East Kootenays near the Rocky Mountains with his wife Maureen, Mill Pond Press began publishing limited edition prints of his work. Over the next 15 years, Ron continued to produce wildlife paintings before branching out to landscape and portraiture.
Eleven articles have been written about Ron’s wildlife painting in national and international magazines and his paintings have been reproduced in three books: From the Wild published by Somerset, Voices from the Wild and Rocky Mountain Wildlife, both published by Raincoast books.
From 1981 until 2003, Ron has had 26 one-man shows of his original paintings, some of them sell outs. The Beckett Gallery in Hamilton, Pacific Wildlife Gallery in Lafayette, and the Harrison Gallery in Vancouver each hosted several shows and Ron was also invited to participate in Birds in Art shows at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
In addition, Ron was commissioned in 1993 by the Royal Canadian Mint to do a collectors set of four coins depicting the Sea Otter, and in 1994 he was the featured artist for the Vancouver International Wildlife Art Show. His last wildlife show was in October 2003 at the Goward House in Victoria.
Between 1997 and 2003, Ron had been doing figurative paintings as well as commissioned portraits and had also done a number of sculptures of the female figure. He found this new direction both stimulating and challenging and became a senior member of the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists in 2001.
Ron’s one-man shows in April 2000 and in March 2002 were called ‘In Praise of Women’ and included sculpture, drawings, portrait paintings and nudes, the feature piece being a 30″ by 60″ of “The Creation of Eve”. International Artist Magazine included an eight-page feature article on Ron’s figurative work in their Issue No. 22, Dec. , 2001/Jan. , 2002.
From 2003 to January 2013, Ron was painting acrylic landscapes using an ‘essentialist’ style, focusing on the shapes and contours of landscape, omitting detail. These contemporary, stylized landscapes were sold through The Avenue Gallery, The Plaza Galleries, Webster Galleries Inc. and the Peninsula Gallery and four one man shows were held at The Avenue Gallery in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.
Ron’s latest series – realistic, atmospheric landscapes painted in oil – represent a marked change from his original representational wildlife pieces and his later contemporary essentialist landscapes. Embracing oil as a medium has allowed Ron’s paintings to become more subtly blended and opened up new artistic avenues. These oils are now available at the West End Gallery in Victoria and the White Rock Gallery in White Rock, BC.
Ron and his family now live in Victoria, after having lived in Comox on Vancouver Island and in Kimberley in the Kootenay Valley. The British Columbia coastline on Vancouver Island and the Rocky Mountains still provide the inspiration for his paintings.