Artist: Paul Chizik
Pastel on linen canvas
Signed, titled and dated 2009 verso
15.9 x 26.5 in (40.5 x 67.5 cm) without frame
25.6 x 36 in (65 x 91.5 cm) with frame
Paul Chizik’s compelling landscape paintings are an exploration of the interplay of aesthetic elements such as light, colour, and texture to celebrate in all their splendour the natural world around Vancouver. Trained at the University of Western Washington in the United States, and at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, his painterly style combines elements of the classical tradition with a contemporary approach. As an artist and teacher, he is fuelled by a desire to achieve mastery of his craft. Chizik refers to himself as a painter rather than an artist, saying that a painter “should be able to do any subject matter equally well, including landscapes, portraits, the figure and still life.”
Chizik’s compositions draw inspiration from the fresh atmosphere and open vistas of his surroundings; strongly evoking the works of prominent American landscape artists of the nineteenth century, such as George Inness and Thomas Eakins. An Autumn Day, a richly atmospheric work representing Iona Island Causeway in Richmond, captures the fall season in muted hues. A tall, gaunt tree surrounded by dark vegetation has been exceptionally illuminated by sunlight set against an otherwise cloudy sky. The rolling waves from the Strait of Georgia are accented with occasional touches of impasto which impart an impression of three-dimensionality as they stretch out towards the distant horizon. In contrast, October Light reveals an explosion of dramatic light with the sunset casting the shore in warm yellow and orange hues.
Dappled Light evokes the plein-air painting popularized by the Impressionists; Chizik having produced an instantaneous impression of a flowing, rocky stream. The location of the wintery scene in Lynn Peak is pinpointed on verso as the frozen Rice Lake in North Vancouver. The artist applied thick layers of paint to convincingly portray the branches of fir trees straining under a heavy blanket of snow. His evocative lighting and detailed contours of the natural environment are a testament to Chizik’s refined sense of craft and his undeniably encyclopedic approach to his work.