Friday, September 10, 2010

Paul Duff - A Foremost Canadian Painter

Even though I was officially recognized by the National Gallery of Canada in August 1956, you won't find me in the popular anthologies of painters. In fact, I was once referred to as one of Canada's 'best kept secrets'.

It was Group of Seven artist A.Y.Jackson, who advised me to seek my validation as an artist abroad - Canada was slow to recognize good painters, he said. So, in 1952, I left for Rio De Janeiro, armed with my box of paints and brushes, a teacher's certificate, and $1,200. While abroad I was made an honourary citizen of Rio de Janeiro and I was invited to exhibit in Brazil's national gallery. My work was also placed in private and public collections in several other countries.

When I returned to Canada in 1981, I discovered rather dramatically that my career was unknown here. To complicate matters, I has settled into a community that viewed signed prints as art. My passion and duty was to paint, just as a poet creates poetry, a writer his novel, or a composer his music. I had to escape that market at all costs.

In 1988 my wife Leila and I fell in love with Ontario's Bruce Peninsula. We built a log home, set up a studio and tranformed a century old cottage into a gallery that has become popular with young artists. So much so, I felt obliged to write a book, which is now used by fine arts students at college level about how to remain true to your creative talent without starving to death. Its called, 'The Eternal Apprentice,' - an apt title I thought for a title penned by a Hamilton born painter living contentedly on the edge of paradise.

Source: Our Canada Magazine, pg. 56, April/May, 2007.

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