Windsor artist inspired by Group of Seven will display artwork in new exhibit

Ashley Thompson
Published on April 22, 2014

Lovers of land and sea visuals will appreciate the art exhibit at the Bread Gallery this spring.

Windsor artist Greg Dickie’s work will be on display at the Brooklyn-based gallery from April 11 to May 25.

“It is evident in Greg's work that he has a thorough understanding of the medium; it is because of this comprehension that he is able to achieve considerable detail with minimal brush strokes,” says Tacha Reed, president of the Hants County Arts Council.

The longtime painter was first inspired to pick up a brush in 1969. He was taking in an art exhibit featuring the work of the famed Group of Seven when Arthur Lismer’s Rain in the North Country and Tom Thomson’s Moonlightstole his attention.

“I saw the two of those and I stared at them for I don’t know how long. They were absolutely beautiful,” recalled Dickie.

“I wondered if I could do that.”

He completed his first work of art, a watercolour painting, that same year.

“I paint almost exclusively in oils now but I’m dabbling in acrylics, you could say.”

The self-taught painter found early mentors in two of Windsor’s most accomplished artists, Don Scott and Dr. Garth Vaughan.

“They both were very encouraging to me and Garth, in particular, gave me a lot of assistance, advice, and books,” he said.

A native of Digby, Dickie is most inspired by marine settings and landscapes typical of small fishing villages. He loves to create original paintings of lakes, streams, boats and wilderness settings through the lens of an American impressionist.

“I like to paint in the late afternoon when there is shadowing and when the colours are a little more muted,” he said.

“I especially like working in fog. When you get a foggy day, your outlines are softened, instead of on a sunny day, when your edges are very hard and sharp.”

When in need of inspiration for a new painting, Dickie will lace up a pair of hiking boots and embark on a nature walk or paddle a canoe through Nova Scotia’s backcountry.

Dickie, who worked as medical lab tech and lab manager at the Hants Community Hospital before retiring, does not make a living off of his art. He sails his boat on the Northumberland Strait in the summer and mostly paints when the mood strikes.

“I tell everybody that essentially I view my work as a hobby,” he says.

“It is a hobby and I try to keep myself in a position where I don’t get overworked.”

Through exposure in galleries, Dickie’s work has travelled across Canada, throughout the United States and wound up in collections as far abroad as Hong Kong.

His paintings are available at the Apple Bin Gallery, Kentville; the Art Sales and Rental Shop (AGNS) Halifax; the Copper Fox Gallery in Halls Harbour; and Details Past and Present on Victoria Row in Charlottetown, PEI.

The exhibit at the Bread Gallery is the Dickie’s second show. He hopes viewers will allow the paintings to take them back to similar places they’ve visited in Nova Scotia.

“I hope they’ll be moved by them or that they will find them familiar.”