A new artist has emerged in Williams Lake, painting local landscapes and scenes that reflect both his career as a wildlife biologist and his passion for showing “the interconnectedness of our amazing environment.”
The first showing of his art was at New World Tea in Williams Lake in May.
John Youds opted for early retirement in 2012 to further pursue his passion for painting.
He said that after years of working for the government, he’s enjoying the opportunity to develop his creative side.
“I had a choice in my late teens, to go into art or biology and I made a choice — I wanted to protect the environment. Now I’ve retired in order to paint and these paintings, for me, are a way to ‘marry’ the two,” he said, adding that each of his paintings represents a real location and that the creative process starts outdoors where he hikes, photographs and sketches what inspires him.
Using his imagination and his reference material he then completes the interpreted paintings in his studio.
He attempts to capture beauty in nature in a way that shows the environment and ecosystems, working to show that everything is connected: clouds, trees, water.
“My career was pure science, and this is a way for me to bring awareness through art,” he explained.
“What I paint isn’t just for an audience, but it’s very interesting to hear what someone gets out of it. These paintings are an early expression of myself as an artist.”
Youds comes from an artistic background; his parents and his grandfather are artists, as well as his brother, who has enjoyed a great degree of success.
He said that friends, family and former co-workers are happy for him that he’s found fulfillment in this new undertaking.
“This is the fun part of my life — this is something I’ve always dreamed of. So was my career in biology. Painting is a way to connect them. Every day I can paint I feel really good.”
He talked about his painting of a kayak on a lake with mountains reflected in the water, stating that it’s one example of the ‘biology beneath.’
“I took the photo, and when I looked at it later I realized it wasn’t just an amazing view of a mountain lake. Painting this gave me the opportunity to show that everything is connected; I used triangle shapes to show that rocks, trees, water, sky, clouds and the mountainsides are all connected,” he explained.
“What I try to do is capture the environmental landscape; it’s not just showing a place, it’s showing how important it is. I learn something new about me and my development as an artist every time I do a painting. I want to evolve and change.
“For me, this is more than painting pretty pictures; it’s showing what’s underneath – the importance of nature, the environment and ecosystems.”