Randolph Parker found artistic inspiration everywhere growing up and began winning awards for his art from a young age. While his family did not frequent museums or collect art, they nevertheless encouraged the young artist to pursue his passions. Before he enrolled in art school, Parker spent 3 months in seclusion in a trapper’s lodge on the edge of Algonquin park, a site of inspiration for a plethora of Canadian artists. There, Parker was able to concentrate solely on his development as an artist before his formal training began.
Mount Allison university in Sackville, New Brunswick allowed Parker to flourish artistically and experiment with new mediums. Among other courses, the artist explored printmaking under the instruction of David Silverberg. Randolph was eager to learn as much as possible from his teacher, even going as far as proposing to drop out of university and become his instructor’s assistant. Silverberg turned him down, instilling the young artist the importance of prioritising your own practice as an artist. Parker’s development continued at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity under artist Takao Tanabe and York University with established critic Ken Carpenter, who taught him how to be critical of his own work.
Parker’s career was enriched by becoming an instructor in watercolours and Canadian art history at the Ottawa School of Art in 1982. 8 years later, Parker began working with Mayberry Fine Art and is his longest professional relationship to date. At this time, Parker’s work was almost exclusively in watercolour, but found that working with larger canvases and acrylics allowed for more compelling results. Prominent representation soon followed and Parker showed his larger canvases of the Canadian landscape in cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Winnipeg. He stopped teaching to focus full-time on his art.
In 2016, Parker began his latest and largest series to date: Islands, Lake of the Woods. Together with Bill Mayberry, the two friends ventured around the 14,000 islands in Lake of the Woods to capture its unique landscape. He would sketch and photograph the locations and begin compositions back at his studio on Salt Spring Island, BC. When the exhibition opened, there were over 200 paintings on display. After the success of the 2022 show in Winnipeg, the project was expanded in collaboration with Gallery 8 in Salt Spring to incorporate the Northwestern landscape.
Learn more about the project here.