Local painter offers landscapes from home and away

Matt Gardner
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A local artist with a penchant for landscapes is giving P.A. residents the chance to take a closer look at his work.

Artist Kenneth Lyons sits beneath three of his paintings -- among many that will be on display at Amy’s on Second Restaurant until June 23 as part of a special art show and sale entitled Paintings from Home and Away. From left to right: Fairway 3 Kachurs (1980, acrylic oil pastel on canvas), Elm Tree (2013, acrylic on canvas) and Farm House (2011, watercolour).

Compositions by former art teacher Kenneth Lyons will be on display at Amy’s on Second Restaurant until June 23 as part of an exhibition and sale dubbed Paintings From Home and Away.

“They’re paintings from home here in Prince Albert and paintings from other parts of the province, other parts of the world -- other parts of Canada, at least,” Lyons explained.

Though the paintings date back as far as 1970, the vast majority were created after Lyon retired from teaching and was able to devote more time to his personal artistic endeavours.

While one piece depicts a tranquil Alaskan scene, images from Canada -- and Saskatchewan and Prince Albert in particular -- form the core of the display.

“Most of my work is in the landscapes,” Lyons said. “I’m particularly interested in prairie scenes, Saskatchewan scenes … I think it’s especially the landscape of the prairies. I like the atmosphere of the big sky and the light that you get here.

“There’s something about the Prairies and being in Saskatchewan … If you’re born and raised in this part of the country, it’s something that’s close to the bone, as I say.”

Lyons’ work takes much of its stylistic influence from the impressionist and post-impressionist painters he studied in art classes.

At the same time, he credits many of his own instructors at the University of Saskatchewan as having a formative impact on his output. Among these were the celebrated Saskatchewan artists Wynona Mulcaster and Ernie Lindner.

“This is something that goes back quite a long time, because I have a B.A./B.A. Ed with a fine arts major in both,” Lyons said.

“I started painting while I was at university. While I was at school at Emma Lake, I took four classes … and I was influenced by my teachers out there.

“I’ve been interested in art as long as I can remember,” he added.

Following his graduation, Lyons taught art in the Prince Albert school division for many years in addition to other subjects. He occasionally found time to create paintings that were displayed at the P.A. Exhibition and winter festival, as well as one that was shown at a juried art show at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.

When you put your brush to a canvas, it’s about making the first step on a bit of a journey. Kenneth Lyons

Since retiring, Lyons has thrown himself into his art, soaking up the natural scenery around him and preserving it on canvas.

Per the title of the current exhibition, many of his paintings depict scenes in Prince Albert. Examples range from John Diefenbaker House to a farmhouse where his wife grew up, from the elm tree just outside their home to a fairway at Kachur’s Golf Club.

Because directly painting a scene outside is not always practical, often he will take a photograph instead to use as a guide.

After first sketching out the scene to get the broad outlines, he begins the actual painting process.

“When you put your brush to a canvas, it’s about making the first step on a bit of a journey,” Lyons said. “You go through the journey and on your journey, you’ve got things along the way that have to be solved … matching with colours or putting a shape here, putting a shape there.

“Sometimes it doesn’t work for a while, so you move on and ... come up against something else. And then you have your happy times too -- ‘Oh gee, that worked wonderfully’ -- until you get to the end, and you look at the end and say, ‘Well, it was worthwhile. It satisfied me. I’m happy with that. I’ve come to the end of the journey on this one. So I’ll start another journey.’

“It’s the creative process, and I’m enamoured of it,” he said. “I have been for years, in music and in art.”

Looking to the future, Lyons plans to continue his personal artistic exploration. He has plenty of potential ideas kicking around in his head, such as a long-planned winter landscape scene from near the Alfred Jenkins Field House.

For the moment, he is enjoying the chance to display a collective body of work at his first-ever art sale.

“I’m just happy to share my art with other people,” Lyons said. “That’s what it’s about … sharing bits about yourself with others in the showing of your art, and hopefully they enjoy it. It’s good to have friends and meet new friends when you’re in this process.

“I get a kick out of that. I like it.”

Organizations: University of Saskatchewan, Prince Albert school division, Mendel Art Gallery John Diefenbaker House Golf Club Alfred Jenkins Field House

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada Emma Lake Saskatoon

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Recent comments

  • Bohdie Markowsky
    May 01, 2013 - 13:11

    Well done lad. You continue to grow as an artist and a person. Keep strumming that banjo, eh! Hold firm Love Bohdie Markowsky