Bird’s work evokes air of being there 

WHO: Cameron Bird

WHAT: Artist’s Reception

WHERE: adele-campbell Fine Arts Gallery

WHEN: Saturday, April 7 th , 7-10 p.m.

He thanks his father for the courage to begin and artist Keith Smith for the inspiration to continue. At the age of 29, Cameron Bird, has already been showing his work for 10 years, in part due to Smith, whom he sought out as a mentor.

"Keith is a well-known Canadian wildlife and landscape artist. I first saw Keith’s work in a gallery when I was in Grade 12. I thought ‘If I ever paint that way, that would be fine with me.’ At the time I didn’t really know who he was. I just phoned him up and he said ‘C’mon over’ and from then on he’s just been a great friend."

Smith recently passed away, but some say it’s a pleasure to see his work living on in the younger artist. Despite his schooling in graphic design and sign painting, as well as time spent at the Emily Carr Art School, it’s Smith’s influence that is most prominent in Bird’s work. Use of bold strokes and emotive colour has drawn similar comments from collectors of both Smith and Bird’s pieces.

"A lot of people have said that there’s an air of actually being there," says Bird. And that’s probably because both have. Interestingly enough, both artists have spent many summers as horseback guides and draw on that time as a source of inspiration.

Bird’s present exhibition, Spring Ahead, also features another of his favourite landscapes: Whistler. But the painter doesn’t require the serenity of the mountains or a warm summer meadow to find reason to raise his brush. Long hours spent plowing snow for Capilano Highways triggered a new interest.

"In the new show there’s a few moonlight scenes. Driving at night, I started doing little pen sketches quickly on a piece of paper that would later turn into a larger piece. Being in a cab driving by myself at night I really started to notice lighting."

It was Smith who first encouraged Bird to start selling his work at a young age. Already Bird is being shown, commissioned and sold in galleries across North America and Europe. No easy accomplishment even for Canadian artists with twice his experience. Bird recalls encountering his first collector after just five short years on the scene.

"A gallery requested that I come up to meet with one person. I was actually a little surprised that they would ask me to meet with just one person. It turned out that he already owned five of my pieces. That said to me that perhaps people are seeing things that I don’t."

The one person that did recognize Bird’s talent from the start was his father, who has always been a hobby painter. And perhaps at that tender age, Cameron did have some intuition of where his father’s passions would lead him.

"When I was very young I did a painting with him. We did it together. He doesn’t know, but I still have that painting."

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