Highlighting ROAM Gallery Artist
Jim Cowan - Artist
Ask Jim Cowan where and when he was born and he might well show you his favourite T-shirt,the one that sports the words “Made in Scotland a long long time ago “. His early education took place at George Heriot’s school for boys in Edinburgh which he left at age sixteen “before they threw me out !”. Five years in entomology at the Zoology Department of Edinburgh University got him qualification with the Institute
of Science Technologists and also took him up to the age of conscription into the military when he signed up as a photographer with the Royal Air Force for five years and avoided two years in the Medical Corps.
The RAF took him to Libya,Malta,England and other foreign spots the most notable being a two-year stint in Singapore.There he passed the Cambridge local syndicate exams in English Language. He insists that Singapore was “Where I grew up ! “ From Singapore he could visit Penang and on up into Thailand and spend time on a small island then named Pulau Babi Ujong (Little Pig Island ) in the South China Sea.
He wrapped up his time in the military in London England and it was there he one day wandered into Canada House which led to him moving to Vancouver . He had a few odd jobs which included processing film at Williams Colour on Granville and remembers that old man Williams had a locked cabinet with the title “No Nudes is Good Nudes “. Censorship was in vogue ! Jim joined Air Canada, moved to Montreal...to Toronto, back to Montreal and ,finally , back to Vancouver. Employment with Air Canada allowed him to keep on travelling and to this day he finds it difficult to keep still.
During his thirty year stint with Air Canada he was much involved with the Canadian Airline Flight Attendants Association CALFAA and turned out a publication with the title “Al Fresco “ which inspired mirth or anxiety depending on who was reading it. He illustrated it with drawings and that may well have been the spur which took him into painting. That and his passion for the Art Galleries of the world. Early on he was inspired by the works of ‘The Glasgow Boys ‘ and transfixed by the paintings of J M W Turner. His current hero is the German / American painter Wolf Kahn. Painting for Jim is many things. It’s an escape from the so-called ‘realities’ of life. It allows him to not only look at what excites him but gives the opportunity to participate....mostly in the landscape He says he feels so “lucky “ at having the ‘gift’ of being entertained by the mere pattern of rain on a sidewalk.
ROAM Gallery - May, 2016
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