Paul Grignon - BIO PDF print version

I was born in 1948, in Toronto, a place where I never actually felt at home, perhaps because all the wooded areas I loved as a kid were disappearing so rapidly. My teenage years were spent in Ottawa, before it became a real city.

When people ask me when I started painting I answer... we all started painting, I just never stopped. But I started painting quite realistically in oils when I was thirteen.

“I remember I was four years old on the swing in my backyard when I suddenly became awake to myself and my surroundings , all bathed in a pure light.”

To the question did you go to Art School or are you self taught, the answer is both. After I dropped out of Applied Chemistry at Waterloo, I did one year at the New School of Art in downtown Toronto. But I skipped most of the classes in order to do life drawing all day. I also enjoyed abstract expressionist painting. I credit that year with teaching me how to be an artist, more than technically how to paint.


detail from first oil painting age 13

However a year later I signed up for a course in television production, thinking the employment possibilities would be better. The school promptly collapsed, became an amateur theatre group and got a grant to transform a big bankrupt church into a wonderful theatre.

Renovations in the daytime, theatre at night. I had a hand in everything and learned a lot, but not about television production!

Gabriella 1974

I soon caught the Mother Earth News bug, started doing yoga at 4 am with people in white turbans, chanting with Krishnaites and then suddenly got the urge to go West.

After a glorious summer of hiking in the Rockies I arrived with friends on Gabriola in September of 1973. One of those friends was Tsiporah, and we soon became partners.

Treeplanting, housebuilding, having children at home, the “hippy days” on Gabriola still bring warm memories and feelings of kinship and community among all who shared them.

1982 Museum Diorama (detail)

Many moved on but, except for seven months at a vegan community in Oregon we have been here ever since, deeply involved in the growth of the community.

People often comment “I’ll bet you’ve seen a lot of changes in that time” I answer, “Yes but the rate of change has been much slower than any other place I’ve lived.”


 This island is so beautiful it is a privilege to live here and a duty not to spoil it. So far most Gabriolans seem to understand that. Which is why I’m still happy to call this place home.

“The universe is inherently beautiful, and a sense of beauty is itself a gift from its Creator. Painting is my form of worship, therapy and at-one-ment in this age of manmade destruction.
Planetary scale fascinates me most which is why I am drawn to shorescapes where sky, land, ocean, space and light dance with each other.”

DEMO: How I Start a Painting