New Brunswick

Porter's pastels: Fredericton artist paints over concrete jungle blues

The painter has been recognized internationally for his pastel work and captivating New Brunswick artwork

Daniel Porter

Daniel Porter is a New Brunswick native and specializes in pastel paintings. (CBC)

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Since he was a child, Daniel Porter has spent his days drawing and painting his visions of the beautiful New Brunswick nature he grew up amongst.

Lately, he's been commissioned to send those pastel visions to the concrete jungles many fans of his work are stuck in day after day.

"I talk to people almost everyday who live in big cities in New York and Boston and things," Porter said.

"I had one gentlemen call me up one day while sitting in traffic in New York and he said, 'Just tell me about your day. Just tell me what you're doing right now. If you look out your window, what do you see?'

Daniel Porter painting

Porter's painting of a Westmorland Street Bridge sunset, viewed from Carleton Park. (Daniel Porter)

"So, I'm standing in the studio, there were chickadees on the bird feeder, there's a great big tree I need to cut down this spring, but he's looking at nothing but tail lights for 45 minutes to an hour."

Porter said he gets contacted by "people that have incredibly limited time" every day, like CEOs of big companies for example, asking for paintings of rural scenes to put them at ease.

Porter recalled one man sending him a note from his desk, telling him he'd looked up at a piece Porter painted for him of the Miramichi river. He said it brightened his day and he couldn't wait to get there this summer.

"So, that's the thing, people love that connection. That's what they want to live with and see when they live in places like that," Porter said.

Daniel Porter painting 3

The Christ Church Cathedral viewed from the walking bridge. (Daniel Porter)

"They want to surround themselves with that subject matter that they love when they can't be there."

Porter said it's that type of feedback that means more to him than any amount of money.

Beyond big cities, Porter has been recognized by companies across the pond, like Unison Colour in England, a team widely regarded as the finest makers of handmade pastels in the world.

Porter sent a painting of a sunset behind the Westmorland Street Bridge to them a few years ago. They've since begun using his work to show the possibilities of working with pastels, a recognition that means a lot to Porter because of both the prestige and the sentimental value.

"It's here. It's Fredericton. It's New Brunswick. That subject matter, it was kind of neat when it went over there to a global audience."

Daniel Porter painting 2

A view of the river from the Westmorland Street Bridge. (Daniel Porter)

He said he loves those types of natural environment pieces in conjunction with pastel paints because of the life it breathes back into the scenes themselves.

"The life in things, the movement in things. The portraits that I do of the dogs, or the moose, or even in the case of a sunset," Porter said.

"A sunset is ever-changing and evolving and what not, so it's sort of being compelled to capture the life and the movement in things. And pastel allows me to do that really well."

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