Recent History – 2002
May 8, 2002
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
You don’t need to look at the signature to know when youre looking at a painting by Calvin Kruk.
Making use of bold clean lines and bright colours, Kruk’s depictions of explosive sunrises, dancing northern lights and the landscape of the Peace are truly distinctive.
His inspiration? To start with, the cold of all things.
Before I moved to Dawson Creek I grew up in Maple Ridge and spent a couple years in Powell River — I’d never experienced 40 below and I think there’s something about that crispness that has translated in the way that I do the paintings,” he said.
“Also, another big influence on me was reading later about the Group of Seven and what they wanted to do was not paint it like other people had painted it but how they felt.”
It seems to have worked. About 60 people showed up at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery on Tuesday night for the opening of “Progression” a retrospective exhibition of Kruk’s work.
And during the opening, accolades were expressed.
“One thing that I absolutely love about his work is that he’s representing our landscape and our lifestyle in a totally unique way, and I find that really, really refreshing and it really stands out,” said gallery manager Ellen Corea.
In all, there are 70 pieces on display, beginning with one of Kruk’s first works which he borrowed back from his mother for the show. Indeed, a good number were borrowed back from collections — another indication of the popularity of Kruk’s paintings.
On the surface, his painting seem fairly simple. But getting it just right can take a fair amount of trial and error — some of the work on display is the culmination of a half-dozen “tries” that for one reason or another just didn’t work out.
“Where I’ve tried it one way and done some paint here and put too much on there and to me I just can’t let it go,” he said.
Being a member of city council, heavily involved in the community, married with a son, and the holder of a full-time job Kruk does not have much time to pursue his artistic endeavours, but he does use the time he has.
Moreover, he’s neither highly disciplined nor the type who paints only according to the cycles of the moon. Rather, he’s somewhere in between.
“There are times when I know I have to paint and I don’t know what to paint so I know I’ll set aside two hours on Tuesday and two hours on Wednesday and two hours on Thursday and something will come of it,” he said.
“There are other times where I’ll be doing a painting and I’ll get up to clean the brushes and realize it’s three o’clock and then go well it’s better for me to go to sleep now.”
Some paintings are completed in a couple of nights while others can take six months. And there are times when he has two or three on the go.
It’s been five years since his last solo show at the art gallery. Along with more paintings this time around, Kruk has also released limited edition prints of three of his works, which are also available at Picture It Framing and Gallery.