HOW IT ALL BEGAN

22 years ago, in my final year of Sheridan College's illustration program, I was searching for a unique technique of illustrating songs I had written. I began splashing inks onto paper while listening to the music I had created and became aware of imagery within those ink splashes. To enhance the images, I worked with other paints to highlight what I saw and make it more apparent to others. The result was quite interesting. I began to really enjoy working in this way, because it served as a springboard for my imagination.

Photography was included in the college curriculum, and I continued my experimentation by using my camera to capture textures in the surrounding community and environment. I then worked the surface of the photos in order to highlight the images I saw in them. This is when I stumbled upon the hidden imagery in nature. In the bark of trees, the lichen growing on rocks, and swirling of the clouds. There is an incredible depth and intricacy in these images and I decided then and there that I should explore this unique approach to illustrating. Although I was quite excited by my discovery, I had no idea where it would finally take me.

My name is Blake Richardson. As an artist I draw upon my visions in the textures of tree bark, in the formations of clouds, and in the natural shapes of rocks and wood carved by the elements in nature.
I will often draw a comparison with my art works and the primitive origins of art.
It is well known that in many ancient cave paintings, the natural forms of the cave walls describe features of the images portrayed. Which leads me to believe that in some cases the paintings were intended to define a vision rather than to record a story or event.
Mythologies could possibly then have evolved out of the interpretations of those visions.
I follow in the footsteps of ancient cultures who have developed a relationship with the land.

My objective to develop a sensitivity and an understanding for why they chose specific sites to commune with the spirits in nature. I look for evidence of rock art (pictographs and petroglyphs) and I explore these areas with my camera, so I don’t disturb these historical sights.
Reflecting on the photographs I piece together my visions, then work with oil paints on the surface of the photographs, to bring into focus what I have seen. The minimal approach I use to reveal my visions leaves a window open for the viewers imagination to enter and interpret for themselves.
Upon completion of each painting. I begin a journey to discover the message that it holds for me. I search through mythologies of the past and attempt to identify my visions, then draw analogies between my own life and the stories that reveal themselves to me along the way.
Many unique environments throughout Ontario inspire my Earthen Sculptures. I find these stones in dramatic natural shapes that inspire visions of animals, fairies, unicorns and angels etc. Although the stones appear carved they are not. It amazes me how all the features of the image fall into place when you find the right stone.
I use oil paints to enhance the lines and crevices in the stone that are describing what I see. Less is more with the paints. I don’t want to lose sight of the many subtleties of the natural image in the stone.
Once I am content with the painted stones, I cradle the pieces in driftwood stands & wall mounts that I build around the stones to create a natural setting in which to display them.

At around this same time my family had purchased some land on the shores of Stoney Lake, Ontario. I naturally chose this area to pursue the imagery in nature. This environment was very unique and literally alive with imagery. In the following years I developed a love and respect for the land that provides me with such inspiration and joy. I realize now, that nature was speaking to me, but I did not yet understand the language.

I eventually became aware of an ancient rock art site very close by and was curious to visit the site, because of its relationship to what I was doing.

I have learned many things on this journey. To be open to unlimited possibilities. To be aware that your vision can reflect what you love and if you follow what you love, life is truly magical. So I follow what I love and let nature be my guide because I know the signs that reveal themselves along the way will show me where I am meant to go in life.

Printable Artist Bio
Petroglyphs on Stoney Lake


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