Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Walt Drohan-Artistic Genius And Brilliant Teacher

Sunderland AB-A DD862 Oil Painting
by Walt Drohan 1933-2007

This is another post in my series of My Favorite Artists, and the influence this artist had on my life.

At the start of my second year at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) we moved into a brand new building which was an enormous improvement over our first year of taking classes in various locations and rooms on the SAIT campus including some that were held in very old quonset huts.

The high point of second year was that the head of the Ceramics department, Walt Drohan, was supervising the construction of a large kiln that he designed, and we were able to view the entire process from the ground up which was an experience that one would not normally have when taking a ceramics course.

Walt was a brilliant instructor who shared all of his knowledge, holding nothing back, and we always had full attendance in class when it was known that he would be teaching us at various times throughout the year. One of my fondest memories was when he gave us our first watercolor lesson. My original intent of going to art school was to be a watercolor artist, and I managed to convince him that watercolor and brush work to me was very important with respect to applying designs on pottery, and lucky for me he agreed.

Walt was born in Calgary in 1933 and became passionate about art at a young age, attending the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, and after completing this program he continued graduate studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Flint Michigan, returning to Canada in 1957.

His artistic career attracted numerous awards, including the Senior Canada Council Grant, many private commissions, and he exhibited his Ceramics and Paintings in a number of galleries across Canada. As a teacher he was very kind and thoughtful, and was able to impart knowledge in a way that was inspiring on one hand, and also acted as a catalyst to creative development on the other hand. Near the end of his teaching career he became the Dean of ACAD and left a strong, vibrant, creative college for future generations to come.

I just love the oil painting of the Sunderland shown above, and truly was not aware of his painting genius until hearing of his passing in 2007. My searching of the net for information on him informed me that he was an avid aviation buff, and that he also created numerous landscape paintings of the Alberta prairie environment.

Here is a list of some links that I have found that I hope will help you to appreciate his legacy and share with others the impact that he had on the history of Canadian artists.


3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post and learning about Canadian art history. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was wondering why he choose a sunderland to paint?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good question, but I am not sure why he decided to paint the Sunderland.

    You may want to email his brother who is still alive, and you can find his email address on the website link below.

    http://oberon.ark.com/~drahan/

    ReplyDelete

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