Art Scoop: Layne van Loo Shares Experiences as an Artist

Introduction to Drawing and Painting

I believe I inherited some of my ability to draw and paint from my grandfather. As a sideline, my grandfather painted some very large lettering and signs on barns. He had a curious mind and an insatiable quest for knowledge. I still have some of his old technical drawing implements.

When I was in the fourth grade, I remember copying drawings of old cars from a set of colored plates (prints) that were in the classroom, but I hadn’t tried my hand at painting until I was about 12 years of age when I did a couple of paintings of birds and portraits as gifts for my grandmothers while living in Florida.

Early Experiences Painting and Displaying

It was around that time that I enrolled in a correspondence course from Art Instruction Schools and later after returning to Canada took Art in high school and graphic design during a year at community college.

I began displaying my paintings in the early 1980s on weekends at the Four Corners in Kingsville before the Motorco building was built. Several of us would set up our paintings there. Local Artists were Ron Vermeiren, Fred Gale, (Ron’s uncle) and Ben Jensen to name a few. This is where I made my first non-commissioned sale.

From there I displayed at Art in the Park for several years, as well as the Gibson Gallery, the Leamington Art Gallery, and at many other local outdoor art shows. More recently I displayed at Paint Ontario in Grand Bend, the Fringe Gallery and the Westland Gallery, both in London, Ontario. A couple of my original paintings have found homes in Texas.

Painting En Plein Air

Over the years on vacations and camping trips I would bring along a sketch book and draw outside. Being a studio painter I didn’t do much in the way of painting outdoors until my wife (also an accomplished artist and painter) and I noticed a resurgence in the practice of painting “en plein air.”

This practice was popularized by many landscape artists of the past like Turner, Bierstadt and the Hudson River School of painters and, of course, our own Group of Seven painters.

We began bringing more of our painting supplies with us on our trips to Killarney and Algonquin parks.

I believe that in the same way that drawing practice helps improve your paintings … doing plein air studies can improve your studio work.

Early Influences

Over the years I have been influenced by many artists, both living and dead. Robert Bateman for wildlife, and William Bouguereau for his portraiture and skin tones.

A myriad of landscape artists in turn have led me to try my hand at all varieties of different mediums for drawing and painting, from charcoal to egg tempera, from watercolour to acrylic to oils.

They all fascinate me and they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

If I could paint anywhere I wanted …

I’d probably choose to go out West or maybe I’d go to New Zealand. But really, one could spend a lifetime just painting subjects in our own backyards.

Artist’s Block

I have issues with that sometimes. That is why I have several pieces going at once. When I find something isn’t working, rather than fight it I leave it and work on something else. Many times when I leave a work and come back to it later, the problem I was having with the piece becomes glaringly obvious.

The Benefits of Belonging

It’s been said that no man is an island and that is one aspect of being a member of an art group. Belonging part to a group such as ASK can be of great benefit in sharing your art, and hopefully getting and giving feedback from your peers. I am also fortunate to have my partner artist at hand for constructive criticism.

I believe that art associations like ASK have much to offer in the same way by promoting growth and encouraging one another. Also the comradeship of like-minded creatives helps to inspire us to keep on doing what we do.

Photos provided by Layne van Loo



  1. Avatar Robert Lynch

    Layne, thank you for sharing your terrific talent with the rest of us. Over the time I have known you , you have demonstrated your desire to encourage young artists. I thank you for that as well.

  2. Avatar Susan Gee-Hann

    Layne, what a beautiful story. I am proud to say I know you and Elaine, from our first meeting at the Mudpuppy Gallery, to numerous art shows in the summers including Explore the Shore at the Gallery Garden (Anne Ducharme), and Culture Days in Kingsville. I always feel at ease when you are in the same show. Thanks for your words Layne.

  3. Hi Layne,
    Thank you for sharing some of your personal history, and how you started in developing your art form. It is always interesting to learn what other artists have encountered along the way, and who have continued to learn and grow. For me, your painting of the wolf pack is my all time Layne Van Loo favorite. It is a stunning piece of art, excellently executed.

  4. Avatar Lola Larson

    Loved your life of art story and your art. You are good!

  5. So good to read this Layne, it’s so true about needing to belong to a group. I miss the shows so much.
    Thanks for sharing your story it’s truly an artist’s life. Love all your work. Hope you get to New Zealand some day.👍

  6. Avatar Candace Anderson

    Seems that you write as well as you paint!

  7. Avatar Nancy Platsko

    Wonderful work, great story

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