His arts career has taken him across the province, with Kootenay roots and University of British Columbia smarts.
And it’s a talent John Waite will share at Nadine’s Fine Art and Frames for November through Christmas.
“He was one of my first artists back 12 years ago,” Nadine Wilson, owner of Nadine’s Fine Art and Frames, said of Waite. “He is very humble — he shouldn’t be.”
Waite grew up in the Kootenays as an incessant sketcher and cartoonist and later enrolled in the UBC faculty of education, which had an acclaimed and ground breaking faculty in visual arts.
While there, he studied drawing with Sam Black, painting with Gordon Smith and printmaking with Bob Steele.
Smith, surely Vancouver’s most well-known painter, now in his mid-90s, still paints vibrantly and exhibits actively. Steele, also in his 90s, is working vigorously on new balanced curriculum. And Steele’s influence was most impactful on this naive student from the Interior — he required an authentic and honest visual statement. It took three years for Waite to find that statement.
After graduating in 1967, Waite taught art in New Westminster and Coquitlam before moving to Vernon in 1973. He was a founding member of the now defunct Deer Lake Printmakers, a precursor to the Malaspina Printmakers. He exhibited in a two man show in Vancouver in 1968.
During his years of teaching, Waite found time for his own art work only with watercolours, and periods of productivity were remote but resulted in a one man show in the Topham Brown Public Gallery in 1988.
For several years during the ’80s, Waite organized the ice sculpture for the Vernon Winter Carnival and in 1990 was invited to compete in the Quebec Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture Competition. That experience prompted him to organize the BC Snow Sculpture Competition at Silver Star in 1991, an event that has grown considerably since.
Waite’s work centers upon his life on The Commonage. That outdoor life and farming are the experience of the beauty and the art work is the expression. The subjects he finds are intimate insights into those experiences — often momentary and transient.
Most recently, his work has been exhibited with the Barn Gallery, Lake Country Art Walk and each year his studio is open to the public during the Carr’s Landing Art Tour.