upbringing...

I was born in rural Alberta, one of four children from an Eastern European family. My mother’s father and brother were both artists in Latvia, so art has always been in our family and considered something to which we should aspire.  While my older brother and I both loved to draw from an early age, he seemed destined for a professional career in art, so sibling rivalry prompted me to set out on a somewhat different path...

 

creative education...

I studied interior design for a year and then completed a Masters degree in Architecture at the University of Manitoba, followed by 40 years of architectural practice which took me on international work assignments including London, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, and San Francisco. Throughout my education and career, making, painting and drawing have been my passion; now that I am retired, these have become a full time endeavor. 

 

current work....

After retirement I designed and built a studio for creating and exhibiting art. Within a year the studio was completed and as of September 2019 I began painting full time. Zak Studio is located on Salt Spring Island and is now on the official Salt Spring Island Studio Tour, where Margo Zak’s ceramics and my own works are exhibited and for sale.

 

outlook...

I’m interested in pushing watercolor to its limits, experimenting with a variety of tools to push, pull and scrape a painting into being. Looking onto the dramatic landscape in which I live evokes particular feelings and emotions. Each mark I make aims to be both purposeful and spontaneous, not imitating so much as responding to what I see around me. I try to work in that zone between naturalism and abstraction. When a painting hits on that otherworldly quality between the two, then I feel I have achieved something -- those moments when I see reality in abstract marks and abstract marks in reality. It’s a fugitive thing, but every once in a while, these moments serve as confirmation that the vitality of painting emerges from a willingness to surrender to process and let go of outcomes.