David Nielsen is an artist, art educator. He has lived, created and exhibited in Alberta for over 25 years.
My love of Art has informed my entire life.
There never seemed to be any question regarding what direction my life would take. As a kid, I imagined myself becoming an “Artist”. I was encouraged by my parents to pursue my creativity. Sometimes I wonder if I have achieved that goal. There have been real ups and downs. I pause and reflect on my life thus far: I teach Art full-time in Calgary during the school year and spend my summers in the South of France, painting whenever I can. I have made and found homes for hundreds of paintings over a 25+ years; exhibited; and became a juried member of the Alberta Society of Artists. In retrospect, I do lead the life of a creative person.
I took up oil painting in grade 4, at the encouragement of my teachers. I was immediately hooked, and have never not had painting be a part of my life. I was equally passionate about creating and studying Art. I would make Art History books with copied magic-marker masterpieces. After nearly fifty years of working in oil, I believe I have created an identifiable style that reflects my personality, experiences, and influences.
I am mostly known for my expressionistic plein aire landscapes of the area where I happen to be living, be it Calgary, the South of France, or Tucson, Arizona. The context of my work is a reflection of where I am.
My process begins with a deep red canvas upon which I “draw” directly in paint with a very dark purple mixture. There is no pre-sketching in chalk or pencil, it is direct and “in the moment”. I believe my final painting is only as strong as its initial drawing. Once I have completed this “drawing”, I apply colour. Because of my venetian red background, any color I add makes my canvasses bright and vivid. They “eat” light. The scale of my work varies from very large to very small, I love doing both. My brushwork is confidant and expressionistic, I want my canvasses to have an immediacy. I do not attempt to recreate the scene before me precisely, my work is more a reflection of the energy of my surroundings in that moment. While I paint, I allow my influences such as Max Beckmann, The Group of Seven, The Fauvists, and Paul Cézanne to permeate my work. Theirs and countless others inspiration resides in my work, but within a new language I have created.
I believe it is important to have a passion for creating, but also for sharing that passion. I love teaching future artists. I have taught Art for over twenty years. I currently teach at Bishop O’Byrne High School, where I teach the highly rigorous International Baccalaureate Visual Arts Program. I also love to collaborate. My collaborative work with Craig B Friesen in Quality Painters has had a tremendous impact on my creativity. Together, we garnered press coverage from Avenue Magazine and Calgary Metro. Our work Odysseus has toured throughout the province with the Alberta TREKS program and was featured in Calgary City Hall.