A sporting life on canvas for Sun Peaks’ artist

Bruce Mitchell - ArtistWhile many Sun Peaks artists look to the beautiful natural surroundings for inspiration, the allure of competitive sports has provided the perfect muse for one local artist.

An avid sportsman himself, Bruce Mitchell has been working with acrylic paints for many years. In fact, he took his first art class at UBC when he was just five years old, never imagining he’d one day teach his own classes.

Yet despite painting for most of his life and having his work featured in many local exhibitions, Mitchell is humble about his talent.

“I really enjoyed the concept of trying to be an artist. I’ve never felt like I’ve actually arrived, but I thoroughly enjoy the experience of painting,” Mitchell said.

With a strong background in sports, including competing in marathons, triathlons and alpine and cross country skiing, it’s clear to see where Mitchell draws his artistic roots from.

“I enjoy trying to capture the human form, and I find with sport you can get a bit of a story or feeling into a painting — the feeling of propulsion in the hands as a swimmer powers through the water; or  feeling that a marathon is never going to end. I like trying to get those feelings and emotions onto a canvas.”

Mitchell usually works with acrylics, and likes to paint on larger canvasses, two or three feet high.

“I find acrylics to be really robust. They can stand up to the weather, so I can paint outdoors and I can hang my paintings outdoors.”

Mitchell admits he has experimented with winter landscapes, but the style didn’t fit.

“I’ve done a few shows and events with Art Zone Sun Peaks where I’ve exhibited work inspired by the natural beauty of Sun Peaks, but now I prefer to paint what I like, rather than trying to pursue a market.”

His sporting focus has yielded a surprising market, with many fellow athletes supporting Mitchell’s work.

“It’s really exciting to go to an athlete’s home and see one of my paintings on the wall,” he confesses.

First coming to Sun Peaks in 1975 to pursue his skiing career, Mitchell went on to be a keystone of the local winter sports school, teaching Nordic and alpine skiing for several years.

Now retired, Mitchell spends his days keeping active: “Swimming, biking, running, and painting whenever I get a chance.”

Mitchell cites Kamloops’ acrylic artist David Langevin as a source of inspiration: “He’s an amazing artist with an international reputation, and he’s an inspiration for a lot of local artists.”

Mitchell sells his work privately and can be contacted at brucejmitchell53@yahoo.ca.