Jacques De Backer gets inspiration from the time in his life where he lived in the Congo in Africa.
At the Old School House Arts Centre on Aug. 12 De Backer showcased his work, which ranged from realistic paintings of cows, to childish birds and animals, to paintings of Vancouver Island that looked so realistic, they could have been photographs to the untrained eye.
Originally from Belgium, he said he’s travelled all over, but spent 45 years living in Africa where he draws much of his inspiration from. “I’ve always painted. You know I started painting in oils when I was about 12 years old.”
He went to commercial art school in Belgium, he said and worked for four years in commercial art before moving to Africa.
He said he spent 25 years in Central Africa and 20 years in South Africa.
While in the Congo, he said he met a large amount of primitive artists.
“I got to know a lot of them… they influenced my art.”
The basic art form and the African inspiration shows in his colourful paintings of animals as they appear simplistic and vibrant. “They are totally 100 per cent me,” he said.
When explaining his other pieces, he said he uses photographs and still nature to paint them.
He’s even lined a whole wall of the arts centre with paintings of cows.
“The zulu people of South Africa have cows with all these different spots on them and they’re very popular,” De Backer said.
“Cows are beautiful,” he said. “I paint what pleases me.”
De Backer now lives in Cumberland in the Comox Valley and the influences from the island are apparent in his realistic designs.
He has paintings of Qualicum Beach, the Englishman River and scenes from Nanoose and Errington.
He said some of the hardest paintings to paint are the realistic pieces.
“The water in the river there, that would be the hardest to paint.”
All his paintings are done with oil-based paints.
“I work exclusively in oil because it’s so sensuous. I think oil is alive opposed to acrylic which is plastic.”
De Backer’s artwork can be found at TOSH until to Sept 5.