From Forestry to fine art
Christopher Potter, born in 1943, spent his early childhood near London, England. Playing amid the devastation of bomb sites and seeing the results of a war-stricken country gave him an enhanced appreciation for the beauty of rural countryside.
His family moved to England’s south coast when he was 15, and he delighted in watching the Atlantic rollers crash to the shingle. Like many British children of that day he worked full time at 16, and it was through his job in the retail food business that he met his future wife, Christine.
He returned to London for management training, but his heart was set on emigrating to Canada, a dream he’d held since he was 12 years old. The couple married in January 1965 and in October of the same year boarded the S.S. Carmania to Montreal and then rode Canadian National’s Canadian to their chosen destination: Vancouver.
Christopher joined the forest industry, the start of a colourful and adventurous 36-year career. His son Leon was born in 1970. The little family moved to the historic village of Fort Langley in 1980 where Christopher and Christine live still, surrounded by many friends, fellow artists, and artistic opportunities.
“I was really fortunate that my work took me to remote corners of British Columbia to visit logging camps. I saw some of the province’s most beautiful areas, and seen it in all weather conditions – the very best and some of the worst!”
Retirement in 2002 offered the opportunity to fulfill another dream – walking the 800-kilometre-long Camino de Santiago de Compostella across Northern Spain, which he did in 2003 after a few months of “training” – trekking the nearby trails every day carrying a heavy backpack. The Camino was a life-changing experience, bringing him even closer to the natural world.
“When you walk such a distance, everything slows down. It has to. You become a part of the surroundings instead of just an observer. There are images from that trip that will stay with me forever.”
And then came more travel – to countries in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, thanks to his landing the job of photographer with a national Canadian travel magazine, HolidayMaker.
He began painting in 2007 when he attended a watercolour class given by Linda Muttitt “I was hooked!” Acrylic classes followed with Janice Robertson and he continues to study with both accomplished artists. Workshops in Spain provided further inspiration.
“Watercolour is my medium of choice,” he says. “I find it an ideal way to express my love of the outdoors: to try and capture the play of light on water, or a stormy sky; sun-dappled walks through the forest and the flash of a colourful bird – those are moments when you can feel at one with nature.”
The challenge is ongoing. The learning never stops, nor the desire to constantly improve. And what of the future?
“I’m keen to keep travelling, to discover more and varied images, and to see where my work will take me in the art world spectrum.”
* * *
His work is in personal collections in Canada, New Zealand, and England and can be seen at the following galleries and shows:
Canadian Federation of Artists juried shows including Small, Smaller, Smallest; Artist’s Choice; and Works on Paper.
Expressions Gallery, Maple Ridge, BC (http://www.valleyfairmall.net/Expressions-Art-Gallery.php)
Wild Moon & Star, Gasoline Alley, Glover Rd., Fort Langley BC www.wildmoonandstar.com