Kevin Bolstad has lived “North of 60” for over 40 years, and in Yellowknife for the past 25 of these. Kevin has developed a unique connection to the land, built from many hours chasing sunlight-shaping shadows, trying to capture a unique moment through the eye of his camera or sketchbook to later revisit it on canvas. Having survived and thrived more than a few winters and raised his family in the heart of “the North” Kevin believes he has earned, and claims the title “Northerner”. North is home.
Kevin began his career as a teacher, but returned to university to become an engineer. He has been a practicing Professional Engineer for more than 20 years. Still, painting remains his passion. He has been painting, albeit intermittently at times, in his spare hours since his first set of oil paints emerged from gift wrapping paper sometime in 1975.
Though Kevin has little in the way of formal academic training in art, he has sought out many workshops, community art programs and seminars, as well as collected a library of artwork read and reread with pleasure, to help shape his art work and hone his skill and develop his artistic style and vision. Among artists providing instruction and influence too many to name, Kevin would currently like to claim as his virtual mentors and inspirations Ted Harrison, Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven artists (especially Lawren Harris), and the Impressionists. He is also inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, who serves as at least one shining example of how engineering and art can coexist together in one mind (for those who wonder how and engineer can also be an artist).
Kevin currently works primarily in acrylics or oils and occasionally watercolour when inspiration leads him there. Regardless of what he’s creating art with, the land is Kevin’s muse and he almost always creates landscapes– even when he tries to paint something else. Not mere transcriptions of some scene, Kevin works to capture a sense or feeling of being in some particular place at some moment, even if this place is assembled from random glimpses and fragments of memory. If the viewer is inspired to construct or conjure their own memory or story from what they see, Kevin considers his work well done.
Kevin is married, has two grown children and two grandchildren, so can now also claim the title “Papa” or “Grandpa.”