In the first year as a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, local artist Harvey Bodach of Thornbury has claimed first- and second-place honours for his wildlife paintings. Bodach joined the federation in February 2021, submitted his first piece in October for adjudication, and was awarded second place in the Federation’s 2021 Animalis exhibit. In January of this year, he entered a second piece and was awarded first place in the 2022 Animalis exhibit.
Bodach holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts BFA from York University (1979), and a Bachelor of Education from Brock University (1996). Over the years, he has worked as a commercial artist, illustrator, art director, and as a secondary school teacher. He is now retired and focusing on his landscape and wildlife painting, his sketching, photography, and sculptures.
Both the first-place painting, Canadian Lynx in Repose on a Moonlit Winter Night, and the second-place painting, Custom Bank Barn Timbers with a Nesting Barn Owl, can be viewed at www.federationgallery.com under the past exhibits Animalis 2021 and 2022.
Bodach describes the lynx as “the ghost of our Canadian North – elusive, and apprehensive of human contact. Its grey winter fur coat creates interesting streaming textures and deep pockets for the artist to explore.” The artist bases his portrayal of the lynx and all of the wildlife hie features in his paintings from years of life experiences and observations in the Canadian wild – in Haida Gwaii, Killarney, Banff, and Algonquin Park – as well as travels in the USA’s Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, in Florida, and in Alaska.
The process of creating his art starts with intense fieldwork and observation, according to Bodach. Whether in the Canadian wild or in galleries and museums throughout the world, his sketch pad and camera are always at hand. “Sketchbooks and various camera lenses are the instruments I use in recording these experiences,” he said. “I always carry both these two recording tools. When travelling, unusual landscapes are logged and then sought out later. Driving with me can sometimes be a challenge.
“Wildlife is mostly experienced in the natural ecological settings, but when additional technical information is required, game farms, rehabilitation centres, zoos, and even the ROM’s collection of wildlife skins help fill in the gaps.
“The studio work begins with laying out my field studies and photos. Layouts are created and the best one is tested and developed further in drawing form the final paintings to try to underline the original experiences in my life and out in the field.”
For more information, visit the artist’s website at www.harveybodach.com.