Richard Freeman

Poplar Frame, Richard Freeman, oil, 39 1/2 cm x 49 cm, 1995.01.05

Richard Freeman

Born: Leicester, England 1932

Died: 1991

Richard Audley Freeman was born in Leicester, England in 1932. He loved drawing and painting all his life and even showed considerable talent before entering school at the age of five. Freeman attended school in Leicester. After graduating from grammar school, rather than join his father's engineering firm, Richard chose instead to apprentice with a display company while attending Leicester College of Art at night.

Shortly afterwards, at the age of 18, he joined the Royal Air Force, serving most of his two year stint in Northern Ireland where he spent the majority of his off-duty hours sketching and painting the moors, lakes and coast.

Later, to gain experience, he joined the art department of an international advertising agency where he improved his style and soon learned the discipline a commercial artist requires to meet deadlines.

At the age of 23, Freeman fulfilled a childhood dream by emigrating to Canada. He worked for a year as a titling artist for a film company in Ottawa and then moved to Winnipeg and worked as Art Director for an advertising agency. The West beckoned, and soon Freeman, wife Faith and infant daughter moved once more, this time putting down roots in Calgary.

Freeman was awed by the scenery he saw in the Rockies and the ranch country around Calgary. Here he saw the subject matter that was to dramatically influence his painting. Here was the scenery and the lifestyle of which he had dreamed for many years.

Richard Freeman used oils, pen, watercolours and acrylics to paint nature in all her beauty and natural form. He had an innate sense of line and perspective, shadow and sunlight. He projected the viewer into those paintings through his ability to combine excellent draftsmanship and composition with the soft hues and subtle tonal qualities of the colours of the rugged western countryside that so captivates him.

In his western images he achieved a harmony with nature. The freedom of movement shown in his choice of subject matter displays Freeman's exceptional knowledge of anatomy, both in human and animal form.

His work is such that people in all walks of life can relate to it, finding an empathy and warmth in his art that may conjure up memories of childhood in the country, or stories of bygone days of the pioneers, an era in which people took the time to sit back, contemplate and appreciate the beauty of the world around them. And yet, at the same time, Freeman's work can profoundly affect the viewer in other ways that capture images of the loneliness of the life of the rough and rugged cowboy of the range.

Richard Freeman was the only Canadian artist to be invited as a founding member of the National Western Art Association in Lubbock, Texas. He was also a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. A few of his awards include a silver medal from the NWA and "Best of Show" at the Calgary Stampede.

Richard Freeman's paintings hang in many corporate and private collections throughout the world.

Tragically, Richard Audley Freeman lost his battle with cancer and passed away in 1991 at the age of 59.