Whimsy and Fine Point Markers: Learning to Draw Again After 50 Years
My name is Chris Olsen, and my hobby is drawing.
When I left high school in the 1960’s, I aspired to be a cartographer. I went to Victoria to study cartography, and then to the Vancouver School of Art to study commercial art. But like John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.” Life had different plans for me, and I had to put my art on hold.
I wanted to return to art many times over the years. I’d go out and buy brushes and ink, sit down, and be unable to draw anything.
Close to 50 years would pass from when I put away my supplies to when I started drawing again.
Then in 2002, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. By 2016 I was in the advanced stages. With little hope of remaining at home if my symptoms continued, I was lucky enough to qualify for Duodopa therapy. It changed my world.
One day, my granddaughter was over. She is a fantastic artist. She can take things out of her head — things she’s never seen before — and makes incredible pictures of them.
I told her I’d like to be able to do that too. She said, “We'll start simple. Let's go down to the park. We'll look at some trees and we’ll draw them.”
So she took me down to the local park and we sat there and I was able to draw the trees. She helped me with the shading and stuff. The rest is history. I started drawing trees, which are still my favourite to subject to draw.
Trees represent my childhood. Growing up in Ontario, we spent our summers and holidays in cottage country. Now in BC, we live close to the coast, surrounded by parks and green space.
My inspiration is nature and its phenomenal ability to survive and thrive. My drawings are mostly black and white. I use fine point markers. When I do add colours, my medium is coloured pencils.
My granddaughter, and my three other grandchildren, inspire whimsy in my art.
My art is so very important to me. It gives me purpose and joy in being able to share it with others.