By Josie Wilson
From golden grasslands of B.C.’s interior to sparkling, pristine lakes of the Rocky Mountains, to quaint fishing villages of the fog shrouded coasts of Newfoundland, Wayne Broomfield’s canvases capture all the splendours and nuances of the Canadian landscape.
Broomfield was born in 1944 in the heart of the Laurentian Mountains, where he had exposure to Kornelius Krieghoff’s work. Kerighoff, clarence Gagnon and the Group of Seven artists all played a major role in shaping and influencing Broomfield’s artistic expression and love of the rural easter Canadian landscape. The Charlebois and Quebec scenery provided the robust winter landscapes, hand-hewn barns and cottages, and somnolent villages of his earlier works.
In 1991, Wayne Broomfield migrated westward to B.C., where he earned a living in ranching, construction and house-painting, as well as raising his family. the change in his environment brought a change to his paintings. He found B.C. to be much more three-dimensional and vast as compared to the more two-dimensional cozy, smaller valleys and hamlets of eastern Canada. Although a struggle at first, the challenge resulted in new growth and a great increase in his subject matter and portfolio.
Wayne Broomfield’s work demonstrates a strong sense of colour and composition, and yet manages to subtly capture the spirit and essence of the land. He is preferably an outdoor, or “Plein Air” painter, and often finished his oil sketches from the field in his home studio, a light-filled loft in Barriere, B.C.
He is not without a sense of humour and whimsy – if you look closely at some of his landscapes, you may discover a coiled rattlesnake poised to strike under a sagebrush, or a meadowlark poised to the sky on top of a weathered Cariboo fencepost. You may spy a colourful pair of wood ducks huddled beside an ice-rimmed beaver dam or a flash of white tail deer amid an aspen grove.
Broomfields’s appreciation of nature does not exclude its major or minor denizens, but seeks to incorporate them in their home. He is a true conservationist and helped to reintroduce burrowing owls to their native grassland habitat.
He has donated major pieces of art to the Grasslands Society, as well as other worthwhile causes. As a part-time teacher, Wayne Broomfield has helped many folks, young and old, find that spark of creativity and transfer it into painting.
The North Thompson area is home to many fine artists and artisans, but Wayne Broomfield is truly one of its gems.
*Note: Broomfield has a number of his painting on display from now until Dec. 16 at Armour Mountain Bookkeeping in the Barriere AG Foods mall.