Vick, Horace (1902 – 1990)

Horace Valentine Vick was born in 1902 in Beeton, Ontario. His family moved to Chatsworth and then to Owen Sound where his father set up a jewelry business. Horace attended both elementary and secondary schools there and spent the rest of his life in Owen Sound.

In the early school days the margins of his books were filled with drawings while at home his toys were mainly old clock movements. Horace eventually became a watchmaker (like his grandfather and other ancestors) and hand engraver which provided a living while he developed his painting techniques and unique style of oil painting. An accomplished classical violinist, he also gave lessons.

During his three-year war term with the R.C.A.F., repairing airplane panel instruments, one of his paintings was chosen by the government from a juried R.C.A.F. art exhibit to hang in Ontario House in London, England. After the war, he set up his watchmaker’s workshop and art studio in his home, and so had the freedom to close his business for one month every autumn and go on sketching/camping journeys. He painted from coast to coast and as far north as Alaska.

In his younger years Vick was very much a part of his community, playing in local orchestras and teaching art in the Y.M.C.A.’s Folk School.  He also won a number of trophies from fishing and gun clubs. All monies collected from his one-man show at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery’s Gallery One, in 1980, were donated to the building fund when the gallery was planning its new expansion. A number of paintings were also donated to various charities for the purpose of fundraising.

Horace was an adventurer, a naturalist and an environmentalist who loved to paint the great out-doors. He eliminated extraneous elements so that his compositions, via colour, line, light, shadow and shape, expressed exactly what inspired him. His critical, discriminating eye, paradoxically, resulted in paintings that give impressions of great spontaneity and immediacy.

While landscapes predominated in his body of work, Vick also produced seascapes, florals and portraits, which never remained in his studio for long. His works hang in homes, offices and galleries in Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Europe. Horace Vick passed away in 1990.