Barb Drechsler, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Artist in watercolours and acrylics
Barb is a local artist who lives in the District of Saanich in Victoria.She is from southwestern Ontario where she took up sketching as a hobby during her teen years.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo, her career path in government communications led her west to Edmonton where she studied drawing in the evenings through the art extension program at the University of Alberta. A watercolour seminar that she took at Red Deer College one summer inspired her to explore painting seriously.
In 1990, Barb moved to Victoria (with husband Dennis, marine woodcarver) where she continued to paint and take art seminars while working full-time. She began to focus on painting birds and west coast nature scenes using watercolours.
Since retiring in 2008, Barb has studied painting through workshops and seminars under the guidance of some of BC’s finest watercolour and acrylic artists. Barb thoroughly enjoys enhancing her artistic skills and techniques inboth mediums.
Recently, her paintings of hummingbirds and the spirit bear have been featured on tins of Rogers’ Chocolates.
Barb is a member of the Saanich Peninsula Arts & Crafts Society
(SPAC) on Vancouver Island. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Dennis Drechsler marine woodcarver Victoria BC.
I started to get interested in woodcarving in 1984 while living in Edmonton. An auto accident in that year put me in a leg cast for three months. My wife bought me a carving book and a set of chisels to put in the time and I set about "whittling" on a 2 x 4. My first creation was a small Canada Goose. When I got back on my feet, I began to learn all about carving decoys and birds. I don't remember making an actual decision to begin to carve whales, but we had been visiting Victoria for a number of years and on one of our visits we had gone whale watching. I guess the idea to carve my first Killer Whale probably resulted from that. I soon discovered that there were no books available to obtain patterns from, and I would have to create my own. I started researching photos of whales in books borrowed from the library. This was before the computers and the Internet. Once I realized that this was a subject that wildlife carvers had not yet tried, it was as much fun creating the patterns and reading about the animals as it was planning how to mount the carvings and create an interesting sculpture. I have been at it now for 25 years and pretty much carve only whales, sharks and dolphins. I still do lots of reading and pattern drawing and the learning continues! I compete in many of the woodcarving competitions throughout the Pacific Northwest, both in Canada and the US, and to date I have won six "Best Of Show" Awards. In April 2000, I competed at the Ward World Championship Woodcarving Competition in Ocean City, Maryland and my carving of Gray Whales, mother and calf, placed First and won the Best of Division Award in the "Aquatic Vertebrates" category. I have also been hired to teach carving seminars locally as well as across western Canada and the Pacific Northwest. I guess I am one of the few Canadian carvers specializing in whales. A qualified PNC (Pacific Northwest Carvers) woodcarving judge, I am on the organizing council for the Pacific Brant Carving and Art Show, held every April in Sidney, BC. My wife Barbara and I enjoy the mild climate that living in Victoria affords and having the ocean at your doorstep is about the best reason for a wood carver to be carving whales that I can think of.