Face Value


January 2013

By Aaren Madden

Portrait artist David Goatley believes everyone has a story that’s worth telling.

The Reluctant Sitter” is an oil painting by David Goatley depicting a common scene in the Montmartre district of Paris. A suited man sits awkwardly at an outdoor café table while a thin man with graying, long hair, large clipboard propped against his waist, looms over and sketches. His face is angled to allow his gaze to flit from paper to his unwilling subject’s face. Though his back is to us, we sense the sitter does not know quite where to direct his own eyes. His dining companion’s are cast down, intent on his meal, actively ignoring the unfolding drama. The crimson café sets off the two main characters by contrasting their cool grey clothing, thrusting the tension forward. The painting is about looking; specifically how we look at each other, and what we reveal or conceal in doing so…

Recently, Goatley contributed two works to the exhibition and book, Art for an Oil-Free Coast. The project involved 50 artists travelling to various regions of the Great Bear Rainforest to document in original artwork what they saw. The 60 works are being auctioned off till January 9, with all proceeds to Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s oil-free coast campaign.

Goatley was the only portrait painter in the group, and since “part of the story is the people who will be affected by an oil spill up on that coast,” he was pleased to take part and travel to Klemtu. He was inspired by the people there, who, impossibly, have emerged from 90 percent unemployment in the 1980s to virtually 100 percent employment today in areas such as ecotourism, fishing, and selective logging. Their way of life will vanish with an oil spill…

To read the full article download the January issue of FOCUS magazine here.