Friday, August 31, 2012

W. Allan Hancock of Saltspring Island

Allan Hancock is one of those fortunate artists who make his home on the artist's haven of  Salt Spring Island, in British Columbia. It's hardly any wonder that Allan loves painting wildlife pictures.

Allan was born with a love of art. His parents have fond memories of him lying idly on the floor of his childhood home, drawing and colouring in colouring books, and when Allan was in school he loved art classes and drawing.

As Allan reflects back to this time, he fondly recalls his times visiting his grandparents in Timmins, Ontario, which was also the town of his birth.  He had a natural love for the the natural world, and he took his art apprenticeship as a boy with watercolours, colouring books and paint by number sets.

Allan's life course took him through university where he got his BA in English and from there to Saskatoon where he got a job working for a greeting card company. It was here that Allan made the life impacting discovery that he was meant to be an artist. "I had the good fortune of going to "work" every day to produce paintings of wildlife - I loved it and knew then that I wanted to paint full-time for the rest of my life."

In 1995 Allan did what so many artists wish they had the courage to do. He sold his house and car, and packed up and headed for the coast to follow his dreams. Indeed, his dreams were realized in more ways then one.  Allan says "I now live on Salt Spring Island, BC with my wife Taryn and our children Ezra (11) and Sage (5)."

Allan can truly be said to be a thankful man, when he reflects on his life journey.

"I have been blessed with many memorable and rewarding experiences.  I have met many wonderful people as a result of art, from artists to art enthusiasts.  I have travelled for art reasons, whether for shows, guest appearances or reference trips. 
I have been blessed with awards for my work.  In 1996, I was selected as Ducks Unlimited Canada's Artist of the Year.  I was informed that I was the youngest artist to receive this award (I am not aware of a younger artist to receive this award since).I am fortunate to have my artwork featured on 2 Canadian Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamps, 2005 and 2011. 
In 2009, I was asked by Tundra Books to provide 50 paintings for Margriet Ruurs' book Amazing Animals: The Remarkable Things That Creatures Do.  This led to a solo exhibition of these works at the Peninsula Gallery in Sidney, BC, and the official book launch and exhibition at the Robert & Birgit Bateman Gallery at ArtSpring on Salt Spring Island, BC. 
There is also the personal reward of completing a painting and over-coming the challenges it presented.  Then there is the reward of someone expressing their enjoyment of my work, as well as the collector who purchases the painting.
Perhaps the most rewarding of all is seeing our children's appreciation of what I do and watching them develop an interest in art and nature." 
 When Allan reflects upon which artists most influence him he responds:
"As a lover of art, I enjoy a wide variety of styles of art and the work of many artists in history.  Having an interest in nature, I have been most influenced by the work of artists depicting the natural world.  When I was young, I was influenced by the art of Glen Loates, Roger Tory Peterson and Leon Parsons.  I have been amazed by the work of Robert Bateman since I was 15.  As I grew older I admired works by George McLean, Fenwick Lansdowne, Chris Bacon, Daniel Smith, Terry Isaac, and Ray Harris-Ching.  While the list could go on, I would have to say that Robert Bateman and Ray Harris-Ching have had the greastest influence on me and my style of painting."

The gallery experience, for Allan has, for the most part been successful, although he did get burned on one occasion by an owner who didn't pay him for works he sold.  He is now represented by the Peninsula Gallery in Sidney BC, and his works can be found in "The Birthplace of BC" Gallery in Fort Langley and in the Webster Galleries in Calgary, Alberta.

Like any good artist, Allan is excited by his journey and delights in his growth process.

All in all - He's a remarkable wildlife artist, and his contribution to Canadian wildlife art is formidable.

Allan invites you to check his work out by clicking here to visit his site.

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