Canadian Artist Al Weitzel
The fear of being another 'Starving Artist' kept Al Weitzel from following a dream for over twenty years. As a boy he spent many days on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, often with a sketchbook in hand, sketching the birds and plants. As a teen his interests shifted to comic book art and for a time he filled his drawing books with superheroes. The realistic portrayals of pulp fiction hero Doc Savage by James Bama amazed him and compelled him to copy dozens of the paperback covers. Several sketch books were filled with images of Star Trek, The Planet of the Apes and Conan the Barbarian, all with the anticipation of someday pursuing a career in art. But while attending university to study fine art he found that most of those who shared his interests anticipated very moderate lifestyles at best. He met so few people involved in art who believed it to be a viable way to make a living that he rapidly became very discouraged and soon traded in his dream for more conventional employment. However, while relative success as a salesman kept his family fed, it did nothing to feed his spirit, and like many people, he was always searching for a way to make his life more fulfilling. Then, in 1994, Al learned of a material called scratchboard. This largely overlooked art medium has changed his life quite a bit since then.
Something about this clay based medium called scratchboard clicked with Al's love of detail and realism. Upon reading its description he knew that this was the way to create something new and distinctly different. Finding some dust-covered pieces of scratchboard at a local art supply store, he began experimenting and soon developed processes for creating wildlife images far more detailed than is possible with typical painting methods. He soon began entering his work into local, provincial and national competitions and, despite confusion about his materials on the part of many judges, he took home numerous ribbons. Demonstrating his techniques in public also created quite a stir, as people were able to see his creations grow out of the black background of the scratchboard. As a result his images began to sell and a reawakened life-long dream began to be realized.
Al's remarkably detailed and lifelike works have inspired hundreds of other artists, both professional and amateur, to try their hand at this unique and exciting art medium. His Scratchboard workshop kit, designed as a learn-at-home version of his popular introduction to scratchboard workshop, has created a legion of new artist and crafters who enjoy the challenges and rewards of scratchboard. His spontaneous and uplifting approach to teaching has made Al's art classes and workshops popular with students of all ages. He spends much of his time in schools throughout Saskatchewan, sharing his extensive knowledge of art with students and teachers. He has won numerous awards in provincial and national art competitions and has been asked to judge several Western Canadian art competitions.
Al's original works have been called 'unbelievably realistic', 'remarkable creations of light and shadow', 'incredible achievements', 'so three-dimensional I swear I could reach right into the scene.' It's not surprising then that they are hanging in corporate and private collections in countries around the world. Al's 'Art of Achievement' series of reproductions are a popular choice in Canadian homes and businesses alike. Through donations to charitable events his works have raised thousand of dollars to protect wildlife and to feed and clothe the underprivileged.
The Weitzel Gallery, Al's retail showcase of his work in the Centre at Circle and Eighth opened in the summer of 2000. The Weitzel Gallery II in the Cornwall Centre, Regina followed in September of 2002 and future expansions into other provinces are in the planning stages.
Al lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and three daughters.
To see more of Al Weitzel's Incredible artwork, please go to his website!
The Nature Art of Al Nelson Weitzel
The Centre at Circle and Eight Mall
120 - 3310 8th Street East
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.weitzelart.com
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