International artist Horst Loewel outside his Oak Bay home with recent works

Salish sea monster guards artist’s home

Oak Bay resident finds animals, kings and queens among local driftwood

A Smart car on the lawn offers a testament to Horst Loewel’s level of dedication to his art. The artist detailed the car in 2009 with oil on leaf gold and silver.

The paintings on the car feature symbols of life and the universe; sun and moon, running waters, salmon, the colours of day and night, the trees of life, the spirit of men, the beauty of the lily and different fruits of life.

The temple of Zarathushtra is painted as a symbol for the connection of mankind and the universe.

The car is among the many creations that fill the surrealistic artist’s Oak Bay front garden.

“I’ve had lots of exhibitions here and Victoria as well,” said Loewel, who divides his time between Oak Bay, Qualicum Beach and a couple of European homes. He’s big over there.

“Mostly my artwork is in Germany and Spain,” Loewel said, in German-accented English. But he and wife, Doris, have also been on the Oak Bay studio tour, opening their Tod Road home to showcase their talents.

Loewel, 77, was born in Germany and studied in Bonn, Munster and Cologne. His work has been exhibited at premier galleries throughout Europe and North America.

His recent artwork is mainly influenced by Canada’s nature – water, ocean and vegetation.

“I was the first artist in Europe painting for the environment, but that was in the ’60s,” he said.

At his Oak Bay home, Salish Monster Seeking Fish stands guard at the front entrance. The tall upright stand of painted driftwood dominates while smaller pieces, fish, dot the rest of the garden.

“It’s a little bit different, I know,” Loewel said with a laugh.

He started painting driftwood in the early 1990s, finding among the weathered wood shapes of animals and kings and queens.

“I”m not carving, nature is doing the shape and I’m doing the colour,” he said. “I find the shape. You have to look at it a bit. It’s not easy, sometimes I find nothing, sometimes I find three or four.”

He’s inspired by wood during his frequent beach visits. Cattle Point marks the origin of many, including the Salish Sea monster.

“I was going out with my boat, fishing,” he said.

He saw the monster and had a friend haul it out. It’s guarded the front stoop about five years, while offering inspiration to passersby.

“If art has no inspiration … for me it’s boring,” he said.

“My personal statement, maybe I’m wrong, art has to do with inspiration and creation. These both must be there.”

 

Visit horstloewel.com to learn more about the artist.

 

 

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