Gary Whitley is the guest artist at the Village Gallery in Lumby for the month of August. (Photo submitted)

Gary Whitley is the guest artist at the Village Gallery in Lumby for the month of August. (Photo submitted)

Experienced landscape painter exhibits work

Gary Whitely is the August guest artist at the Village Gallery

He paints. Come and see his work.

According to Gary Whitley, there is really no need to say anything else about his work.

Whitley has been painting for more than 40 years. He is an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists in Ontario, an associate signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists in Vancouver, B.C., and an associate member of the Oil Painters of America.

I interviewed Whitley in his airy studio at the Highway 6 Gallery — the homestead where he and his wife Liz have created an immersive work of art that is their daily life: gardens, outbuildings, greenhouse, tomato wall, eight foot high peas. He compares painting to driving trucks, which he has also done.

“If the wheels aren’t turning and if the brush isn’t moving, you’re not making a living,” Whitley said.

Whitley has been making a living as an artist for many years. He is a matter of fact artist and a business man.

His studio is stacked with canvases, frames and work in all stages of completion. He scoffs at the idea of painter’s block.

“I have several paintings on the go at any one time,” Whitley said.

Whitley prices his art by the square inch. Consequently, whether you see his work in a Canadian gallery, online, or in China (where his work has appeared in several shows), his prices are consistent. He prefers to leave marketing to his agent and galleries but welcomes visitors to his studio gallery.

Adhering strictly to the guidelines of the federation and societies of which he is a member, Whitley only paints what he has seen himself: places he has photographed. Many of these are of course local or B.C. inspired: Rainbow Falls, Sugar Lake, McIntyre Marsh, the log house up Creighton Valley, the cows at rest in a neighbor’s field. Many of his reference photos of the back country were taken while riding with Liz.

Whitley is 73-years-old. Many of the artists he calls his mentors have passed. I asked Gary if he had any thoughts or ambitions regarding his career at this point in his life.

“I am content. I have a good life. I am lucky to have art as my vocation. In the past, I have had years when I produced enough work to mount several one-person shows. I would get up and paint at 7 a.m., quit at 2 a.m., then get up again at 7 and carry on,” Whitley said.

He still paints three to four hours a day and laughs at the idea of retiring.

Whitely will be the August guest artist at the Village Gallery, 1975 Vernon Street, Lumby. Village Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vernon Morning Star