Artist Cameron Bird began his career with sketching, which he continues to this day as reference for his larger studio oils and acrylics. He has been painting professionally since 1989 and full-time since 1999. He received formal training at Emily Carr College of Art and Capilano College where he studied commercial art.
Having studied many artists from history, Cameron is drawn to the work of Illingworth Kerr, Lawren Harris, Maynard Dixon, Emily Carr, Carl Rungius, Jean Paul Riopelle and in particular Canadian artist Keith C. Smith. Cameron studied with KC Smith for over ten years. KC helped him find the knowledge and courage to produce work of power and simplicity. He always taught him to simplify and make each brush stroke count. Cameron has always admired the use of bold color and heavy impasto.
Each year Cameron gathers reference for his work while fishing, camping and hiking. Of particular interest is carrying his paint box along and capturing his subjects firsthand, known commonly as plein air. Plein air painting was initially very overwhelming for him, since it was difficult to simplify landscapes and present clean colours in such vast settings. Years of practice and patience have given him confidence and skill which can be seen today in his plein air studies.
Cameron worked as a packhorse guide in the Chilcotin mountains to provide him with the firsthand material and reference for his paintings. He believes this experience in the wilderness gives his work an added authenticity and true appreciation for nature.
Cameron currently lives in the Cariboo of British Columbia with his wife and two young boys. He had a 400 sq. ft. studio built on their property allowing him to work with larger canvases in a relaxed environment. Having a woodstove in the studio helps to bring the camp life into his daily life. The surrounding views, animals and the changing of the seasons are important as well.
Living in the Cariboo provides Cameron with a simplified lifestyle that puts him on nature’s doorstep and gives him versatility to travel further afield. Whether it is day trips into the Cariboo-Chilcotin to sketch the old pioneer and ranching history, trips over the mountains to the Rockies to hike and explore, family trips to the west coast of Tofino and Ucluelet, weekend getaways into the warmer interior of B.C. or longer trips abroad to Europe or throughout North America, Cameron is constantly being provided with new sources of inspiration and reference for his work.
Simplifying what he sees into something fresh and original is a challenge that he loves. What Cameron is after is a powerful impression.
Cameron likes to challenge his viewers into seeing landscapes and wildlife in a new way. In order to do that, his firsthand experience and knowing his subject is vital.