Eric MacIntosh grew up in the small fishing village of Lockeport, Nova Scotia, surrounded by the sea. Eric has worked, lived in and explored this coastal community for almost all of his 64 years.
Eric at the easel in his new studio.
By the 1960s, Lockeport was already far removed from its heyday as a trader of cod destined for the West Indies. Eric was born into leaner times, but the community supported the enthusiastic young artist by saving cardboard dividers from tea boxes, along with house and boat paint, to use as art materials. Under a model ship builder’s mentorship, the six year old youth’s love of creating art was cemented. Artists and teachers in the small community furthered his art education and he became well known for his paintings of locals and the surrounding shoreline.
South East view of Sea and Shoreline in front of Eric's Cabin where his marine inspiration originates.
Clamouring over the rocky cliffs of Nova Scotia’s wild South Shore, Eric comes close to being washed away in his attempt to observe his subject: the sea and those who make a living from it.
Leaving home at seventeen, the artist found work where he could, leading him to the local fish plant and eventually, offshore fishing. At twenty, he made his way to Halifax to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to study fine art, while every summer he returned to the south shore and fished for his tuition. Art at university was an entirely different experience. Eric walked into the world of Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual Art and embraced it all, especially the work of Les Automatistes, a dissident group of artists from Montreal formed during the early 1940s. Automatism refers to painting without conscious thought, accessing materials from the unconscious mind as part of the creative process. It freed Eric to paint however and whatever caught his mind’s eye and his natural surroundings of sea, rock and cliffs soon coalesced to produce an enormous body of work over the following decades.
Just a few of Eric's current collection of works.
But then tragedy struck in the form of a poor summer fishing season, leaving Eric unable to pay his tuition and finish his degree. Broke and unemployed, the artist enrolled at the Nova Scotia Nautical
Institute, and followed a career as a Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Conservation & Protection Fisheries Officer for the next 32 years.
Eric receiving the Governor Generals medal for long service.
Despite his full time job, the artist continued to paint furiously, and participate in shows such as the Nova Scotia Far and Wide Exhibition through the Nova Scotia Art Museum. During his Fisheries career, Eric sold some eighty paintings and commissions, now in private collections across Canada.
After retirement, Eric devoted himself full time to painting. He renovated an outbuilding into a studio and moved his easel and paints from a tiny attic to a bold, light filled space.
Eric's new studio.
A far cry from the 10' x 10' attic studio he had been painting in for 29 years.
His schedule freed and his retirement secured, Eric’s mature eye searches out scenes of reflective and absorbing subject matter. Whether the constant ebb and flow of the Atlantic over a rocky shoreline that has worn down boulders as smooth as flesh or the sun’s movement creating deep shadows while the tides expose the vibrant colours of seaweed and Irish moss — when you enter Eric's Gallery, his works will flow over you in a powerful wave. The strength of the rocks and the power of water; shimmering, glistening, and exploding over them, brings Nova Scotia shorelines not only to life, but to something more than life. To see through Eric’s artist’s eye is to see not only art imitating life but expanding it to a realm neither real nor imagined, but some singular place in between – a place only this artist can allow you to go.