Artist ditches fast life for alpine settings

Artworx Gallery features Bill Townsend and Allan Dunfield this month

Allan Dunfield

Allan Dunfield


An art show in Qualicum Beach that kicks off on Friday has brought renowned Canadian painter William Townsend out of retirement to partner with celebrated landscape artist Allan Dunfield.

“This is a special thing we are doing,” said Townsend. “When Allen was asked to do a show, he didn’t have anybody who complemented his work. So they talked me into doing some new paintings.”

Second Time Around is being exhibited at the Artworx Gallery in Qualicum Beach from May 10 to 31, with an opening night reception Friday, May 10 from 7-10 p.m.

Townsend quit an executive job in publishing at the age of 41 to give full attention to his art career. His oil paintings were starting to sell well at galleries so he knew it was time, he said. Plus, he added, he was no good as a businessman.  He began to do more travelling and would hike to remote locations with some painting boards stuffed into his overnight backpack.

“I have to paint in the high alpine and I have to walk on little three-foot-wide ledges, 1,000 feet above a lake. I mean that’s what I like,” he said.

He would often sketch what he saw with felt pens and then fill them in later with acrylic and oil paints.

Townsend’s landscape paintings were well received around the country and sold around the world. His work was featured prominently in many corporate collections and he appeared on a CBC television special, where 12 artists were selected for a Canada Day documentary.

Townsend decided to retire from painting in 2005 because at 65 he was getting a little too old to do the hikes he loved, he said, and for income tax reasons. But he kept photographs of his hikes and has vivid memories of places he’s visited. He painted a series of new paintings at the Artworx Gallery for this show.

Dunfield quit his career as a chef and moved to the Island 12 years ago in order to concentrate on his painting full time. He has been painting since he was a kid and in 1969 was accepted into New York City’s School of Visual Arts, where he studied for two years.

He feels compelled to paint every day, and Dunfield said painting for him is an escape. It’s a chance to make everything in the world beautiful and create nice places for people to go.

“My canvas is my rabbit hole,” he said.

Dunfield painted with watercolours for about 20 years until he decided to switch to his current medium of choice, acrylic. He said he wasn’t getting the bold and strong results he was looking for with watercolours. His work has now become Goring’s most popular at the Gallery.

Dunfield also paints landscapes, but instead of hiking to remote locations, he spends time on beaches and in nature. He endeavours to create a mood and capture an atmosphere with his paintings, and likes to leave room for the viewer to get involved, he said.

“It’s like the landscape has a personality and you want to tap into that but it can be difficult,” he said.

People will see paintings by Dunfield showing remote locations in the exhibition however, as he has created some of his paintings using Townsend’s hiking photographs as reference. The two have become friends and after looking at Townsend’s photographs and hearing stories about certain destinations, Dunfield researched the areas and created his own pieces.

Artworx Gallery owner Marlow Goring said Townsend and Dunfield have formed a great relationship, where Townsend acts as a mentor and Dunfield, the student.

“It’s wonderful to see,” he said, adding Townsend is a great teacher and Dunfield a top student.

This is the second show the two artists have had together. The last was in 2006 at Goring’s Frameworks Gallery and had over 200 people attend.

For more on the Artworx Gallery visit






Just Posted

Pam Bottomley (executive director), right and Sandy Hurley (president) of the Parksville Downtown Business Association visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Downtown Parksville gears up for post-pandemic bounce back

Podcast: Hurley, Bottomley chat about what’s ahead for the PDBA

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

(File photo)
Crime report: Crooks busy pilfering bikes throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Thefts among 295 complaints Oceanside RCMP deal with in one-week period

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue logo on the back of a service vehicle. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville and Qualicum Beach provide letters of support for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue

ASAR asks for increase in funding, one-time capital grant and for RDN to buy out current facility

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Most Read