CANADIAN PRAIRIE WATERCOLOUR LANDSCAPES

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SASKATCHEWAN

R. D. SYMONS. Blue Sage by Lake, Pelican Point, 1965. Edmonton Art Gallery

ROBERT DAVID SYMONS, b. Mayfield, England, 1898, d. Silton, Saskatchewan, 1973. Symons was the son of the English painter and professional illustrator, William Christian Symons, learning to paint watercolours literally at his father's knee. Symons migrated to Canada as a teenager. After service in WW I, he returned to Canada, working as a game warden in Saskatchewan and subsequently ranching in the Peace River block of British Columbia. He retired to Silton, Saskatchewan, in 1961. There he taught and wrote a number of books -- both fiction and reminiscence -- in the tradition of English nature writing. Although he was essentially an illustrator and naturalist, Symons remained close to artists in Saskatchewan. He knew and admired Kenderdine and in his later years befriended and encouraged younger artists in Regina. He worked primarily on paper, frequently in watercolour, drawing upon direct observation and a prodigious visual memory.


TERRY FENTON