The Human Relationship with Nature

The Link, Autumn 2017
| by Janet Jarrell |

Paul Chester paints peaceful contemporary impressionist land and waterscapes. Inspired by the natural countryside surrounding his home in Keene, located in southeastern Ontario, Paul celebrates and shares his recollected visions as an emotional experience through his works of art.

His early exposure to familial artists in his parents, both painters and his mother also a sculptor, naturally led a 19-year-old Paul to pick up his father’s old paint set. He loved it and couldn’t leave it. Inspired and supported, Paul was driven to pursue his own art.

“Painting for me is a poetic expression…” – Paul Chester

With private lessons to start, Paul enrolled in the school Art’s Sake in Toronto. In 1982, his ambition took him abroad to study art at the Academy St. Roch in Paris, France. Inspired by the great impressionists the idea was to immerse himself in the art and culture, and secretly he always wanted to learn to speak French. This all-French academy meant he had to tape the lessons and slowly play them back when class was complete. After eight months of study, Paul returned home to Canada and the following year had his first solo exhibition in an art gallery in Toronto.

Well on his way to dedicating his life to his art, Paul spent several years exhibiting professionally in galleries in the Toronto area. He returned to study at the Ontario College of Art (now known as OCAD University) where, like his mother, he studied Sculpture Installations.

His paintings are soft suggestions, peaceful memories of the surreal natural landscapes you find in this beautiful part of the country. His style is his own. Mainly painting with oils, he builds the image he wants to share layer by layer. His background as a sculptor comes together with his painting, creating a complex surface with depth. Paul says, “The surface of the painting is often scraped and scratched with a palette knife, revealing the colours beneath.” Painting with oils lends itself nicely to this form of painting and the result is a scene with rich, abstract texture.

The land and waterscapes always feature the horizon in the distance which allows the eye to follow it – you almost get lost in the painting. The work which graces the cover of this issue is titled A Day in October. A favourite time of year for this artist, fall is a perfect time to capture colours and in this scene they are reflected and illuminated in the beautiful lake. Paul notes of his paintings, “Luminosity that highlights the individual landscape is the essential element.”

Often moved by the natural world from a simple walk, hike or Sunday drive, Paul’s paintings are an emotional response, “Always something new, every day is different, the light, shadows, clouds forming.” We can all relate to glimpsing awestruck at the landscape, forests and lakes in this beautiful country. For a deeper appreciation of the magnitude of these moments we must share them with one another, after all that is what life is about – relationships. This artist shares with us his relationship with nature in the way he knows best – he paints.

Paul Chester has had 35 Solo Exhibitions and been in over 40 Group Exhibitions all across Canada, in the United States and London, England. He is currently represented by 10 art galleries. To view more, visit