In Profile: Brian Scott

World-renowned Comox Valley artist Brian Scott loves a good story... 

Brian in his home studio with his dog, Vincent Van Dog (Vinnie for short).  Photo: Susie Quinn
Brian in his home studio with his dog, Vincent Van Dog (Vinnie for short). Photo: Susie Quinn

His latest projects have seen him creating art books, painting commissioned house portraits and recording a television program on Shaw TV based on his painting knowledge. “I love the house portraits because you get amazing stories (from the inhabitants),” he says.

Scott’s personal story, of growing up and settling in the Comox Valley, is entwined with that of Mount Washington. He first came to the Island in 1961 when his father, an air traffic controller, was posted to Canadian Force Base Comox (now 19 Wing Comox). 

He joined the local youth ski club, called the “Fanny Dunkers”, and skied Forbidden Plateau with Peter Gibson, now the President of Mount Washington. “I started skiing there in 1980. I know a lot of people up there. I’m very excited about the new owners,” Scott said from his studio in Black Creek, midway between Courtenay and Campbell River. “I think it’s a huge opportunity for the mountain.”

Scott released a book entitled ‘Skiing on the Island’ in 2011 as a fundraiser for the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre. The book contains 40 images from Mount Washington Alpine Resort, Paradise Meadows and Strathcona Prov. Park. The book offers one story per painting, and is an insightful, sometimes humorous view of the Resort’s development since its inception (for instance, the chapter on Mount Washington and the Death of the Outhouse). 'Skiing on the Island' is one of a series of books Scott continues to create. Each has only 40 paintings and 40 stories. He recently returned from a cruise to the Suez Canal, the Holy Land, Santorini and Venice - his 22nd cruise, and one of three he has planned this year. “I’m doing a book around the world on cruise ships,” he said. “The next (cruise) will be Australia/ New Zealand. My company pays for all of my cruises. I’ve sold a lot of paintings around the world,” he said.

Scott is known for his brightly coloured, leaning toward abstract acrylic depictions of his favourite scenes from the Comox Valley and around the world. He paints everything from canvases to cars to spirit bear sculptures, driftwood to his latest, garden art. He’s got artwork “pretty much world wide,” he says.

He is also working on a six-episode series of painting lessons with Shaw TV. “It’s called Too Much Blue. That’s my nickname in Cumberland,” he said. (Scott is known for underpainting his winter pieces and a series of paintings from his years in Cumberland with blue.)

Scott taught art for 20 years at North Island College and has been painting for 41 years. His television segments are educational: “I paint for half an hour and talk while I’m painting,” he said. “I show people how to lay out a palette. I talk quite a bit about design, colour theory, art history. I talk about what I do, about underpainting. A lot of people have trouble finishing a painting, so I talk a lot about how I finish off my work.”

Scott’s alpine artwork can be seen at the Resort, the Comox Valley Art Gallery on Duncan Avenue in downtown Courtenay and at his own gallery, 8269 North Island Highway in Black Creek. Scott’s work is also available on his website at www.brianscottfineart.com.