Penticton lost one of its beloved artists with the sudden and unexpected death of Terry Isaac.
According to a post by his family on his Facebook page, Terry Isaac Wildlife Artist, Isaac died on Tuesday, July 16.
“Terry was excited about his upcoming shows, workshops and paintings, and as was obvious in his plans, conversations and inspirations,” states the post. “We will honour Terry by keeping his gallery open for the summer, continue to exhibit his work, as promised, and operate his store, at the gallery and online, to provide Terry’s art to those who wish to own a piece of his artistic genius and legacy.”
Nel Witteman, co-owner of the Lloyd Gallery in Penticton, said she had sold Isaac’s prints for 10 years before she actually met him when he moved to Penticton. She said she saw him just one week ago walking with his two sons while they were shopping.
“I was so shocked when I heard the news. I couldn’t believe it. He is so vividly with me in my mind, it is just so sad,” said Witteman.
Witteman and she and her daughter, Marjo Thompson, put out some candles in their gallery on Thursday in his memory.
“He was loved by many. It is quite a loss for everyone in the art world that knows him,” said Witteman.
Isaac earned many accolades as a wildlife artist, most recently being named Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Artist of the Year. He also loved to give back to charities such as the AlleyCats Alliance, donating prints of his work for fundraisers and opening up his pop up gallery in Cherry Lane Shopping Centre to allow them space to bring awareness to the group.
Isaac told the Western News in an earlier interview that he always had a passion for nature since his early childhood, and the works by Robert Bateman, renowned Canadian artist who would go on to mentor Isaac, is what inspired him to pursue a career as an artist following earning his teaching degree.
”The real reason I want to paint nature is I just love nature, I think it’s beautiful. One of the benefits of being an artist and having paintings and prints is the ability to donate money that is generated from the sales. I’ve helped out mountain gorillas, snow leopards, and more recently with Ducks Unlimited, the sales of the art goes directly to conservation of wetlands,” said Isaac for an interview in June 2019. “I feel very blessed that my work has contributed to helping conservation. A lot of times I just come up with an idea of who I want to benefit, and sometimes the organization contacts me directly.”
Paul Crawford, the director and curator of the Penticton Art Gallery, was shocked to learn the news of Isaac’s death and said this will surely leave a hole in the city’s artistic community. He said he was thankful he had the opportunity to get to know Isaac personally, and appreciated his forms of artistic expression in both painting and music.
“This is a huge blow to our arts community for sure. He was a delightful guy to work with and a passionate and humble man. It was interesting to hear of him first in a commercial sense, and then get to know him in a personal way was very eye-opening,” said Crawford. “It brought to light my great respect for him as a person and an artist.”
The post states that a celebration of Isaac’s life will be planned for August, but a date has not been set yet.
“Thank you for being a part of Terry’s artistic, musical or personal journey. We thank you for your support and love of Terry Isaac,” states the post.
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