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The Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) was founded in 1941 by a group of Canadian artists, including the Group of Seven luminary, Lawren Harris. The FCA is dedicated to raising artistic standards by stimulating members to greater heights of knowledge and achievement. Once a year the FCM Board of Governors juries paintings for excellence by awarding Signature Status. The FCA has selected Jack Turpin for Senior Signature Status.
Congratulations, Jack Turpin SFCA (now, a Senior Associate Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists). His painting “The Last Frontier” is included in the Historic Trust series of the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery.
Painter, Jack Turpjn was in Fort Langley demonstrating at the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery on Cranberry Festival (Saturday October 12, 2013). Turpin was joined by fellow gallery artists, Heidi Lambert, Joyce Trygg, Susan Rind, and Mike Steward in “demos in the fall garden”.
For almost 40 years the Dyck family operated Frontier Hardware and Building Supplies in downtown Fort Langley. The business closed its doors two years ago and the site together with an adjacent lot will become home to the Coulter Berry Building currently under construction. Municipal development conditions include the creation of a “signature wall” on the building’s south side. Jack Turpin’s painting, “The Last Frontier”, has been selected as the scene to be featured on the south wall. Historically relevant and a tribute to the Dyck family, the realistic scene of the Glover Road frontage of the old store will bring art into the public sphere. The size (12 by 16 feet) and positioning of the original artwork’s image on the south wall will have a “trompe-l’oeil” effect, playfully exploring the boundary between image and reality. Eric Woodward, owner of Coulter Berry, announced the selection of Jack Turpin’s artwork at the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery’s 17th Anniversary event on Saturday evening (Sept 21, 2013).
“It’s more than a hobby, it’s a huge part of who I am,” painter Jack Turpin said of his art. But the retired Brookswood teacher admitted, however, it’s not a job for him, claiming he doesn’t have enough discipline to make it a full-time gig.
A utilitarian wall clock hanging arms length from Jack Turpin's easel always reads 9: 37.
For all the decades that his Brookswood basement has served as his studio, that clock has been broken, and the retired art teacher turned part-time painter likes it that way.
"That way, I'm always just starting," said Turpin, who is opening a show at the Birthplace of B.C.
Gallery in Fort Langley this weekend.
Typically, he spends between two and four hours a day in his studio or at a remote outdoor location, painting whatever inspires him - be it landscapes he loves or whimsical art that sometimes comes to life on an unsuspecting canvas.
Just days before the opening, however, Turpin admits he's literally had to lock himself in that studio in a frantic effort to finish all the pieces he wants considered for the upcoming show called Capturing the Moment, running until the end of May.
"I'm in panic mode," he said, breaking from painting long enough to sit down with this Langley Advance reporter.
He's expecting to have 15 painting in the show, but he's not yet sure which ones.
"For me, Capturing the Moment is what painting is all about. I'd like the viewer. to stop and look. if I can get them to stop for a minute and wonder what is in there - to see what I saw, that little bit of magic - and make them hold their breath for a moment as they spot a light bouncing off a rock or see some details hidden in the shadows - then I've done what I set out to do by capturing that moment in time."
An aspiring artist since child-hood, Turpin said his parents were not artistically inclined but his older brothers doodled and other relatives shared his creative passion.
"I can remember always being interested in art," he said, recalling - for instance - his early fascination with the pen and ink art found in his childhood story books.
But while he, too, has always doodled and occasionally painted, he didn't pursue his art seriously until much later in life. Instead, he followed his older brothers into teaching English and at six-foot-six-inch tall made quite the jock.
It wasn't until 40 years ago, when the principal at H.D. Stafford was looking for a teacher to take over one block of art, that Turpin volunteered. In short order, he discovered his true calling, took over teaching high school art full-time, and began - on the side - pursuing his own painting with vigour.
"I think the whole time, that little artist inside was screaming to get out," said Turpin, a known jokester describing that transition as a coming out or rebirth for him. Now, his creative inclinations come out in almost everything he does, whether he's out working and redesigning his garden or taking the dogs for a walk and absorbing his surrounds with the thoughts of a potential painting - he lives and breathes his art. He rarely leaves home without a travel pack. It's stocked with sketch books, a box full of watercolours and pens, and frequently augmented with a camera.
"I'm going to be an anal realist when I grow up" chuckled the 66-year-old, noting he started that way and then as a young artist went through a rebel stage pursuing more impressionistic works, before coming full circle back to the realism (often landscapes) that he admits comes more natural.
Looking at a painting he's crafting from a visit to the Tofino outlet during the early morning hours on a crisp winter New Year's Day, he said: "For instance, on this one I'm not going to paint every rock on the beach. but just about."
It's his perfectionist tendencies, Turpin said, that explain the swath of unfinished pieces stacked in piles around his studio.
Some of them, in fact, hold little more than the peachy background that he always starts with to enrich his art, then a few brush strokes he's added as an outline for the intended image he'll eventually bring to life. But for now, they're discarded in the pile, indefinitely, longing to one day be revisited.
"Obviously, at this rate, I don't sell a lot of paintings," Turpin said. "I'm not going to make millions, but as my wife [Diane] says, at least if you can pay for your habit."
Turpin and his long-time friend and fellow artist Perry Haddock - also a retired teacher - have done a show at Birthplace every year for the past five years, and this spring they're returning with fellow painter Amanda Jones. They're also being joined by jewelry artist Susan Rind.
Birthplace is located 9054 Glover Rd. in Fort Langley, and the artists will be on hand during the opening on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, from noon to 4 p.m.
Retired Langley teachers Jack Turpin and Perry Haddock have been painting together at least three hours a week, sometimes more, for the better part of a decade.
The duo first met while teaching at H.D. Stafford Secondary, but were first brought together in the artists' realm by a mutual friend - fellow retired teacher and painter Darren Perkins, who suggested weekly painting huddles.
Since starting, the trio have been painting together every Thursday at Turpin's Brookswood home, spending the first hour sipping tea and critiquing each other's work, followed by two hours of intense painting.
While Turpin acknowledges the sessions have made him a better painter and helped motivate him through rough spots, it's the incredibly strong friendships that have developed which he cherishes most.
In addition to the weekly sessions, Haddock and Turpin also make periodic painting sojourns, both real fans of painting en plein air (outdoors).
It's what the duo found on some of their most recent day trips to Crescent Beach, White Rock and Chilliwack Lake, as well as an overnighter to Galiano Island, that serve as subject fodder for a new show currently being hung at the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery.
"Jack and I have had some great adventures, road trips that resulted in some of the paintings in the show," said Haddock, a long-time Langley resident who recently moved to Cloverdale. For instance, one adventure took them to Manning Park for two days last fall, where they spent almost every hour of daylight painting.
"We came back with a car full of painting. That was fun," Haddock recounted.
Armed with countless new images never shown before, the pair jumped at the chance for a show about six months ago, when gallery owner Brenda Alberts invited them to do a joint exhibit at Birthplace.
Between the two artists they will have about 30 new paintings available at the show, many from their day trips, others from Haddock's recent trips to France, and some paintings that Turpin is modifying from an ink and watercolour series he did last summer of Fort Langley's Glover Road business district.
Turpin was still painting frantically days before the show, while Haddock gloated that he was simply putting the finishing touches on two he wants to hang.
"In fact, some of his [Turpin's] will still be wet," Haddock joked of his buddy's last minute creations.
Turpin, who thrives under pressure, admitted he would likely be hanging his last piece or two the day of the show.
"All joking aside, honestly I know we're both really pleased to be showing together because we really enjoy painting together," Haddock said.
"For me, it's a chance to show some new work. And, more important, to show with Jack is a real privilege."
Likewise, Turpin said he's honoured to be showing with his friend and such a disciplined and professional artists as Haddock. Both Haddock and Turpin have been artists for years, but didn't seriously pursue their painting until they started coming together for the weekly painting huddles.
"It's not a full-time job for me, it's a passion," Turpin said, still grateful when his art sales can cover his costs.
Regardless of their self-proclaimed professional status, or lack thereof, both men are associates of the Federation of Canadian Artists - Turpin the most recent addition, receiving his certification this past week.
While each have participated in multi-artists shows together in past, this is the first time that Turpin, 63, and Haddock, 62, have paired up to host their own show, aptly named Two for the Road.
Their show at Birthplace starts Saturday, March 21 and runs until Saturday, April 4, with artists in attendance this Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The gallery is open from 11-5 p.m. at 9054 Glover Rd.
Journeys in a journal Langley artist Jack Turpin never goes anywhere without his trusty sketchbook
Visitors to Fort Langley last week may well have spotted artist Jack Turpin, seated on a stool, sketching each and every building along Glover Road. The drawings will be used to create a series of paintings which will be displayed at a yet-to-be-determined date.
By Brenda Anderson
Aug 03 2007
Perched atop a stool on the sidewalk along Glover Road in Fort Langley, Jack Turpin works quickly, scribbling into a small book the outlines of buildings on the village’s main street, along with just the barest amount of detail contained within the shapes.
Beginning with the historic cemetery and then working his way north across the railroad tracks to the bridge, before heading back up the other side to the Fort Gallery, directly across from his starting point, the Langley artist is in the process of recording each structure on both sides of Glover Road. And he’s doing it all on a single piece of paper in a 3” by 5” journal.
He isn’t working in miniatures.
And despite the fact some of the painter’s work has taken on a somewhat mystical feel of late, there’s no magic at work here.
The book’s single page folds out, accordion style, into one long piece, made up of 30 panels.
Turpin has blocked it out to accommodate drawings of one whole side of the street on each side of the paper.
Outlining in black pen, adding spots of colour for later reference,Turpin’s technique, “blind drawing” has him gazing more at his subject than at his paper.
For this project, the artist wasn’t on the street for long, managing to get what he needed in just a few hours’ work over as many days.
“I just sit there on my stool and hope I don’t get in anyone’s way. I try to make my large self inconspicuous,” he said. Not exactly an easy task for a man who stands well over six feet tall.
“I don’t give myself too much time, otherwise I get bogged down in detail.
“Then I go home and develop it,” he said.
To begin, the buildings are simple outlines, pedestrians remain cartoon-like characters and the cars lining the street look like toys. But even when building in value, tone and texture, the artist’s goal is not to paint portraits of the businesses or buildings — only his interpretation of them.
In anticipation of his next step, Turpin has already prepped a number of canvases of consistent height and varying lengths. Next, he will begin to pick out parts of the sketch and decide which image will lend itself to a particular canvas.
But for the retired Brookswood Secondary art teacher, the simple process of drawing is a reward in itself.
“I was one of those kids who doodled in class,” he recalled.
And as a teacher, he never discouraged it, likely to the dismay of other faculty members, he added, with a grin.
Turpin has been journaling for about 10 years, stepping up his efforts over the past five to create some momentum and help ensure he would remain active when his teaching days were through — “Because I knew art would be a major part of my retirement.”
His travels have helped to inspire him, including a recent visit to Rye, England, where he jotted many of the city’s historic streets into his journals and later translated some of them into dreamlike watercolour images, with jagged-roofed buildings resembling castles, in misty purples, yellows and blues.
Recently, Turpin said, another Langley artist and friend, Darren Perkins, with whom he paints on a regular basis, observed that the paintings seemed to be a merging of Turpin’s big, impressionistic landscapes and the imaginative, creative aspects of his world travels.
“They’re drawn from both the reality of my travels and my imagination. They’re quick, loose, impressionistic,” said Turpin.
“My journals fueled that.”
Turpin’s journals are more than just a series of drawings. Mixed among the images are lines of text, magazine clippings pasted onto the pages and whole pieces cut out of pages or cut into small paper flaps, merging separate images into a single work of art.
“I never go anywhere without scissors and a glue stick,” said the artist.
And his artist’s eye finds subjects everywhere.
“The idea of not having anything to draw never occurs to me.”
For anyone interested in trying their own hand at journaling, Turpin has plenty of advice:
Don’t be afraid to use your imagination and powers of observation, be open and follow your muse;
Don’t place unreal expectations on yourself;
Hang around creative people because that opens doors to creativity;
Avoid using pencil — it’s messy and the urge to erase is too great;
“The important thing,” he said, “is to keep doing it, to keep it fresh, not let it get stale.”
For information, call the Birthplace of B.C. Gallery at 604-882-1191.