With a career in biology winding down, Robin Hoffos is bringing his artistic life to the forefront.
“Painting forces me to see the world more completely; to move beyond observation to insight; to find music in the ordinary,” Hoffos says in his artist’s statement. “It is now my time to reconnect with art.”
His show, Explorations, which opened last Thursday evening in the upper gallery at the Station House Gallery is a reflection on his work over the past 30 years as well as some of his latest oil and watercolour paintings.
The series features vibrant interpretations of B.C.’s rural landscape and the buildings and wildlife that inhabit it.
Born in Calgary, Hoffos grew up in Kitimat. In high school he chose art as an elective when all his mates were over in shop taking power mechanics. He knew it was the right choice because the creative drive has continued to smoulder through the decades of working as a biologist and raising a family.
He earned degrees from UBC and SFU in Zoology and Natural Resources Management then took various jobs in fish and wildlife management around B.C., Alberta and the Northwest Territories. He started working with government in 1985 in Vancouver, then spent four years in Victoria before settling in Williams Lake in 1993.
He doesn’t have formal training in art other than a couple of night school courses and a recent painting workshop taken in Wells with his daughter.
Over the years Hoffos has experimented with chalk pastels, water-colour, oil paint and dabbled in pen and ink, especially when creating caricatures. He is currently working mostly in oils.
“I painted my first original oil painting when I was fourteen and only recently returned to that medium,” Hoffos says in his artist’s statement. “I enjoy oils both because of their texture and their forgiveness.”
He enjoys playing with colour, sometimes invoking unexpected hues as seen on the back of the reclining bison or in the undulating shadows in the wolf snowscape.
He enjoys painting from but also finds the built environment interesting as it provides form and pattern less common in natural landscapes.
“Each painting presents some kind of new challenge, whether capturing the texture of the rocks in the foreground of the solitary tree or creating the sense of depth in the image of the dead sockeye,” Hoffos says.
“It is overcoming these challenges that both frustrates and inspires me.”