Saskatoon Lighthouse resident featured in local art gallery

The work of an untrained Saskatoon artist is up on display at The Gallery/Art Placement.

Donald Bird struggles to communicate verbally, so he expresses himself through art

Although Donald Bird is an untrained artist, there are common images that reoccur in his work, such as the eagle, moose, and buffalo. (The Gallery / Art Placement)

The artwork of Donald Bird has been put up on display in Saskatoon, but the man is not the typical type of artist to be featured.

Bird is an untrained artist who lives at the Lighthouse, Saskatoon's supported living facility.

It's where he crafted his work that's now showcased at Saskatoon's The Gallery/Art Placement. 

A few years ago, he first set foot in the gallery to buy pencils and paper. Since then, he has worked his way through different mediums, exploring oils and acrylics as his work has progressed. 

All of his methods are self-taught.

"Untitled (hockey player)", 2016, Oil on paper, 11-1/2 x 9 in. (The Gallery / Art Placement)

Levi Nicholat, co-owner of The Gallery/Art Placement, first met Bird a few years ago in the supply store.

At the time, Nicholat was only the manager of the supply store and he would often see Bird coming in to look at art tools.

"That's how we came to know him, just a regular face in the art supply store," he said.

Bird is shy and also has difficulties with verbal communication, Nicholat said.

"He's often very hesitant," he said. "But when you take take time and not rush him to find out what he needs, it works out well."

Two years ago, Bird began to bring in his art pieces with the intention of selling them to the gallery.

"There was something about them that was just really exciting," Nicholat said.

"Epic", 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 in. (The Gallery/ Art Placement )

Bird expresses creative freedom in his work, Nicholat said, noting that resonates with people.

"Most people, from the time they're children, we enjoy drawing pictures and making things and if we're lucky, that continues on into the later years of our lives."

In the summertime, the gallery has often exhibited art that's a bit different than their usual displays.

It seemed like Bird's work would be a good fit for this season's feature.

Several of Bird's pieces have been sold already.

There will be a coffee and tea reception for the "Donald Bird- Paintings and Drawings" feature show on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. CST.

Donald Bird, "Petrified", 2016, Oil on paper, 11-1/2 x 9 in. (The Gallery/ Art Placement)

with files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend