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Full of never-before-seen illustrations, Life Sketches is an inspiring and elegant portrait of Robert Bateman’s life as an artist and of his belief that “Nature is an infinite source of reason, imagination, and invention.”
From one of Canada’s most beloved painters comes an intimate, visually stunning memoir of the artist at work.
Internationally acclaimed artist Robert Bateman has brought the natural world to vivid life with his unique perspective. His vast body of work—spanning species as large as the buffalo and as small as the mouse—has touched millions of hearts and minds, awakening a reverence for wildlife of all kinds. Bateman is perhaps best known for his gorgeous depictions of birds in flight and in repose, images that stir in the viewer a deep appreciation of colour, form and spirit.
Life Sketches is a moving journey in both words and images that, for the first time, allows Bateman’s fans full access into his creative process, detailing his singular artistic vision and the inspiration behind his iconic art. What emerges is a portrait of a young boy enchanted by the natural world around him and called to record it in his sketches and paintings. Bitten by wanderlust, Bateman travelled the world and documented his real life experiences in journals, sketches, and paintings. In Life Sketches, he recounts the evolution of his style from abstraction to realism and the events that have shaped his art into a vocation over many decades. And through it all, Bateman shows how his keen sensibilities extend beyond art, to a passion for conservation and relentless advocacy for the natural world that underpins an incredible artistic legacy.
Join Robert Bateman on this personal guided tour through his life and art.
postures, groups and incidents.” And he added, “Above all things get abroad, see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.” Those words resonated. This trip, like all of the ones that followed, was never about escape or restlessness. I did not have itchy feet then, and I do not have them now. It was the opportunity for discovery that took us away. My companion for the journey could not have been more agreeable. Like me, Bristol had grown up near ravines, in his case the Blythwood and Don
staunch advocates of handcrafted work, and they worried that machines would be our ruin. I think they had a point.) There is always a work in progress on the easel, and while I prepare paint and brushes, Alex will give me a précis of any new correspondence. Part of my attention is on the painting at hand, but another part is able to deal with queries arising by mail or telephone. I receive many requests from people seeking support for their worthwhile causes or requesting my presence at their
foreground? Nevertheless, Landseer is a very good painter and a giant of Victorian art. Faced with an unsuccessful piece of art during the Bark Lake sessions, I tried to find something positive to say and then deconstructed the piece. There was, for example, a painting of a grey cat sitting on a windowsill. The artist understood where the light was coming from in that scene, so the shading was well handled, but the cat’s proportions were wrong, and it was clear that the painter had not worked
to be hand-done to prove that the artist has seen and approved that particular print. The topic of limited edition prints came up again during a province-wide art teachers’ convention in British Columbia in the mid-1980s. I was invited to be a guest speaker. Great, I thought. These are my people. It transpired that a member of “the furor crowd” (as I then called those who opposed the idea of prints) was outraged that I would be speaking. He thought I was “a bad influence” on art. This fellow
of Exploration. It is an honour to know these creative, knowledgeable and likable individuals. They introduced us to many outstanding resource people and passengers with whom we shared adventures in all corners of the world. Of course I may have left out someone whom I should have thanked. But in a way, the entire book is an acknowledgement. Since this is a book about my life, family is elemental to my life. I will lump all of our five children under one deep and broad appreciation. They all