Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Watercolourist Profile: Ron Morrison, Courteney BC

Whatever else, Ron Morrison will surprise you. He's a dynamic Canadian Watercolourist from Canada's west coast. Ron is a self admitted motorcyclist with a passion for art. He is self taught, and admits to having began dabbling in watercolours after he left school and he has never looked back since. When you check Ron's profile on his website, you discover that Ron likes shaking the boat.

And shake it he does! For one thing, Ron love painting old cars and boats. His portfolio is rich with paintings of junked cars and beached boats. This is Ron's primary interest, and as he has often said, he paints them a lot, because there is something in them which captures his personal quest for growth. And, when you peel back the "I like that colour," critiquing and delve into how it all flows together - colour dynamics, subject arrangement, visual flow, and atmosphere you can see what Ron means. And, I never cease but to be amazed how Ron can redefine the same subject, over and over - like a golfer perfecting his swing in that constant search for perfection.

Intriquingly there are parallels which can be drawn between the works of the earlier BC iconic painter, Emily Carr, and Ron. Emily explored decaying Haida villages where the people had vanished and their totem poles and buildings are leaning and falling into decay as the forest embraces and reclaims them. But for Ron, its his search for the nostalgic, haunting, primitive, reclaimative beauty in old discarded boats, cars and trucks, which blurs with a sense of loss and nostalgia.

I sense an empathy in Ron, for his crumbling old vehicles. And, I find myself wondering if it isn't all part of a grand metaphor on the human condition and Ron isn't making a statement that beauty triumphs over all.

What captures my attention is how Ron uses his art to create atmosphere. The car in this posting has dignity and pride as it sit alone in the field. It sparkles with light and it is the stuff of poetry.

Ron searches for what remains after the beautiful old family car which has been lovingly waxed by caring hands, and then experienced social rejection. If you look carefully behind the broken windows you see a teasing play of light and shadows and you sense the presence of a world of sprites.

Ron is a master extraordinaire in understanding what colours to use to create the atmosphere he seeks, be it a phosphorous, moonlit sky or the brilliance of an afternoon sun - and then, he takes this light and explores how it effects colour on metal and paint.

I suspect that Ron finds conventional landscapes and florals boring and too restrictive. There is not enough room for him to explore the breadth of his paintbox and to include the kind of detail he searches for and the fineness of expression he seeks.

The amazing thing about Ron's works is that he plots his course as he goes along. There is no preplanning, and there are no values sketches. What you see is what you get. Its the magic of his spontaneous touch. Its the ulimate of right brain painting.

Ron Morrison has carved for himself a unique place in the community of Canadian art and he is an artist to be reckoned with.



  1. Thanks, Win, the blog looks great, interesting, what a blog should be...

  2. Great item, Winston, and a great watercolourist. Wow, you are putting up a lot of interesting posts, of your own stuff and art in general. As Ron says, interesting...

  3. Ron Morrison is my favorite watercolourist...
    I always admire him...His work is unique.
    Glad that you post about his story.


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