At nine years old, Victor Lotto was nominated by a teacher for painting lessons at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
“My poor sister had to take me on the street car and wait for me,” he said of his childhood experience. The lessons set off a lifelong passion, and Lotto has carried his brushes with him wherever he’s gone since.
He was a Canadian diplomat for 35 years, and was assigned to Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Brazil among other places, where he took inspiration from the land- and cityscapes, two of his favourite things to paint, he said.
His work has been exhibited all over the world, including in the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Ottawa School of Art, Hart House and Victoria College at the University of Toronto, Galerie Goodchild in France and many venues here in Victoria.
Lotto still travels regularly, but for the last 20 years he’s been quite happy to call Oak Bay home, and his work reflects it.
“A lot of my work is in Oak Bay within walking distance of home,” he said. “My dog and I visit Cattle Point and Uplands park each day.”
After retiring from the Foreign Service, he was offered a teaching position at the University of Victoria, and it was no hardship to settle into the quiet community of Oak Bay.
“My wife was born in Oak Bay, so we had to come back,” he said with a smile.
Lotto has been actively involved in the local art community since. He is past president of the Victoria Sketch Club, a member of the Community Arts Council of Victoria, and a founding member of the Oak Bay Artists Society.
He recently showcased his talents at the TD Art Gallery Paint-In on Moss St., where he dabbed away at a watercolour work-in-progress in between chatting with the public and reconnecting with old friends. Next on his schedule is the Bowker Creek Brush Up, Aug.10, celebrating its 10th year of connecting Oak Bay artists with local art lovers. Lotto is quite looking forward to it.
“(It) gives me the opportunity to see lots of old friends and to show my work,” he said.
While he paints in acrylic and oil as well, attendees will more than likely see him painting in watercolour at the Brush Up.
“Watercolour is my favourite medium,” he said. “It’s so easy to travel with.”