At Home in the Woods
Charity Dakin’s creativity has always been clear. “I’ve been drawing animals since I could hold a crayon,” she recalls. Born on Canada’s West Coast, the daughter of a dairy farmer and the oldest of five children she certainly was not born into the art establishment. Her early years revolved around chores, the farm animals, and drawing them. And when she wasn't drawing she was discovering all she could about wildlife. “I used to walk through the corn field on Saturdays after chores to my grandparent’s house. They had 2 things – a National Geographic magazine subscription and cable TV. I spent hours reading the wildlife articles there and watching nature shows and then I'd go home and draw them too. I just couldn't help myself... I had to do it.” Her fascination for wildlife combined with daily interaction with the livestock taught her two very important things – observation and hard work, qualities that would become evident in her painting.
Photographing in Jasper National Park, AB Canada
She now has firsthand opportunities to observe the wildlife that ends up in her paintings and spends hours walking, watching, hunting and photographing the wildlife around her home located in the northern boreal region of Canada. She also continues to keep some farm animals as well, knowing full well the benefits of such a dependency. “Animals, whether domestic or otherwise were necessary for our survival, feeding, and clothing us, and although we now rely so heavily on technology there’s a quality about living off the land in a traditional sense. It’s earthy, healthy, good for the soul.” The beauty around her all finds a way into her sketchbook.
Hiking in the Rocky Mountain Alpine
Without a formal art education her resolve to pursue her artistic ambition was firm and in 2004 she debuted at the Harvest of Arts Show and Sale hosted by the NAIT Campus in Fairview, Alberta. The college purchased Charity’s work, “Logger’s Retreat”, a logging horse team and cabin as part of their permanent collection, proving her to be a promising emerging artist. It was the just the beginning of an incredible artistic journey that would follow. Since that debut her passion has continued to be evident and she has travelled, exhibited and gained recognition from collectors and fellow artists alike. She devotes much of her time to working with other artists, sharing ideas and working cooperatively to produce shows and promote the arts in her community. Her work contributes to the preservation of historic culture, the wilderness, and rural community life, and her work is now represented in private and public collections internationally.
“Painting for me is a portrayal of many aspects of my life and environment, and my works are autobiographical in their content and context. While I am primarily a wildlife artist I also find great value in our historical connection to the natural world. The modern planet is spinning at 660 miles per hour and we're often caught up in the rush… we need to ground ourselves once in a while for the simple purpose of admiring its beauty as much as for its sustenance. In art I embrace each new challenge and idea so I can continue to evolve in my work and understanding of the natural world, and hopefully in doing so I’ll add a little something to the rich tradition of painting.”
Snowshoeing, a favorite winter activity.
Wild blueberry picking, a favorite summer activity.
Fooling around with her favourite subjects.