My Husband, the Artist

My husband, Ken Burke, was a late bloomer.

It wasn’t until he retired from Canada Flooring in 1998, that he took up painting.

As his wife, I knew he was looking for a hobby to fill his leisure time, and I also recognized he has artistic talent. So I encouraged him to take an art course. His theory was to always believe in yourself, that you can do anything you set your mind to achieve.

Ken’s first piece of artwork was of a chair, completed in an art class at Arts Underground. Then he took a watercolour class with Whitehorse artist Pat Ellis in November 2005.

This month he is having his first solo exhibition, featuring his landscapes, under the pseudonym of Mr. B.

The show opened on Feb. 7 and continues until the end of February at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse.

Since trying watercolours and acrylics, Ken — a freestyle and mostly self-taught artist — has gone on to paint with oil; acrylics dry too fast, he says. The oil paints give him an opportunity to add or change final parts of the picture.

Ken makes his own canvas frames as well as making temporary frames for the art show.

While travelling, — be it Yukon, Alberta, B.C. or even Switzerland — we take photos of landscapes, trees, or just plain interesting scenes, to use in his next painting project.

He has just completed a three-part canvas of the Matterhorn, in Switzerland. Each piece is individually framed, so they can be placed together or separated.

Ken’s paintings are one of a kind, never a duplication or a copy. Sometimes he even paints imagined landscapes.

Ken is a hard worker, having worked on construction, building roads, and sidewalks across the prairie provinces for 12 years. Raising a family in Calgary was difficult when he was away, so we decided to move to the Yukon and raise our three daughters here.

In 2012, he sent a variety of his paintings to our daughter in Calgary, who arranged to have them sold in Edmonton. All were purchased.

Now, who would believe that Ken is having his first gallery showing at the Community Art Gallery in the Yukon Art Centre?

Everyone is welcome to come by and view Mr. B’s paintings, during the month of February.

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