Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Doug Mays, Watercolourist

Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1947 Doug remembers being told early-on that “being left-handed meant he would likely be creative”. Imagine that, your destiny being determined by which hand you pick up a fork, a pencil or a brush. Really, could one’s lot in life be decided in such
a simple way?

Doug came to realize his love of art in the mid 1950’s, a time when psychology hadn’t quite articulated all of the left brain/right brain theories as we know them today. The supposed left brain & creativity link didn’t matter to Doug; all he knew was that he loved to draw. Looking back, he can’t remember a time that he wasn’t holding a pencil, pen, brush or stick of charcoal in his ‘left’ hand to
create something on paper or canvas.

The youngest of six children (four sisters and one brother) Doug grew up in Stoney Creek on the eastern boundary of Hamilton. It was there in Grade 5 where his passion for art crystallized when he won his first art award, a watercolour that he remembers as if it were yesterday. His interest in art carried on through high school and then on to college where he studied Architectural Technology graduating in 1971. A career, crossroad decision in his late teens led him to decide on a business career rather than one as a commercial artist. It was a decision he would never regret because he was able to return to his art to hone his skill and increase his knowledge throughout the next 30 year business career by enrolling in several life drawing and watercolour workshops in Canada and the U.S.A.

For Doug his art was like an old, loyal, distant friend - always there, awaiting his return. With each successive workshop his focus to develop a uniquely, loose and impressionististic painting style was aided by the encouragement of his instructors and his peers. He later developed a desire to share his talents and the virtues of the watercolour medium with others. Now in his second decade of watercolour instruction Doug has garnered a reputation for being a personable and effective instructor, whose pragmatism and light-hearted approach make all of his workshops fun, enjoyable and entertaining. He feels that his painting style maximizes watercolour's spontaneity and 'expressive freedom' and that his use of bold, vibrant colours is purposely applied to stimulate emotion & pique imagination.

He gets his greatest inspiration from the watercolours of John Singer Sargent, whose colour and compositions epitomize the painting style he wishes to emulate and from the teachings of legendary - Edgar Whitney, whose ability to articulate the importance of the Design Elements and the Principles of Design is a pleasure to follow. Doug feels his success in watercolour can be attributed to 3 aspects – Tools, Process and Attitude. With Tools – “paint with a big brush”; Process – “paint light to dark” and Attitude – “it’s only paper”. He adds the only magic bullet to watercolour proficiency is – practice.

Doug is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC), a past President of the Central Ontario Art Association and a member of the Ontario Plein Air Society. Today Doug continues to live in Stoney Creek with his wife Angela. He has two married daughters and 4 grandchildren all living within 30 minutes of his home.

His active schedule finds him travelling throughout Canada and Europe to mentor watercolour students intent on pursuing a looser painting style. When he’s not instructing you find him in his home studio painting a watercolour or an acrylic.

To contact Doug and to see more of his work go to his website please click here.

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