Robert Anderson was in his thirties working as a management consultant and a teacher when he awoke one morning at three a.m. with an unrelenting urge to paint.
“I don’t even know if the word “want” applied, I’m still not sure it does. No, it’s an addiction. It’s a compulsion. It’s not: I woke up and wanted to paint, it’s: I woke up and I had to.”
He painted until 8 a.m. that morning and ever since that moment he’s had to paint, he said.
Anderson’s acrylic paintings are currently up for sale at The Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply.
Anderson remembers wanting to be an artist at age 11, but after his grade 5 teacher told him he was the worst art student she’s ever had for painting a less-than-desirable horse, he put that dream on hold.
He was also interested in photography and joined the photography club in Grade 7. Years later, while working as a consultant, he ran into a friend from that club, and ended up buying half his photography studio in Edmonton.
His friend helped bring his photography to the next level and after a couple years Anderson sold the studio back to him and moved to Victoria.
Up until 2009 he was painting what is generally considered abstract, but he found himself at a loss for subject matter one day, he said. So Anderson decided it was time to paint the beautiful scenery surrounding his drive home to Metchosin from Victoria.
In 2010 he travelled to his quiet home studio in northeastern Alberta, and worked in solitude for months at a time on his acrylic landscapes.
“I had the chance to go back to Alberta, lock myself in and work with no interactions and no distractions. And I’m solitary person anyway.”
Before becoming an artist Anderson said he felt like he was being choked to death. He used to give lectures to classrooms of 200 people, but amongst the crowd of people he felt lonely.
When on his farm in Alberta “40 miles from nowhere” and alone all the time, he felt at ease, he said.
Anderson is an advocate for the freedom and safety of animals and is passionate about the protection of wilderness areas, having used his photography and field work to help protect ecologically sensitive areas.
Anderson has been working out of “studio-trailer” since 2008 (with stints to his home in Alberta) and is currently based in Nanoose Bay.
Although sometimes he calls his obsession with painting and perfecting his pieces “a curse”, he thrives when painting late or taking his camera out for a day of shooting. Some days he’ll start at 5 a.m. and at 11 p.m. he’s still got the camera in his hands and he hasn’t eaten anything. But he doesn’t mind.
“It’s awesome. And to be able to do this… I’m the luckiest bugger there is. You’ve gotta be lucky to be cursed.”
Find some of Anderson’s work at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply located at 206 West First Avenue. For more on the artist and to see samples of his work visit robert100.photography.com.