Other than some fundamental “false news” [!] here is an article that appears in today’s Record by Terry Pender.
Cambridge’s artful lawyer paints scenes as he interprets them
Bill Schwarz, 74, achieved success in commercial law before becoming an artist with paintings in galleries across Canada.
WHATSON Aug 12, 2019 by Terry Pender Waterloo Region Record
Artist Bill Schwarz sits with one of his sketch books in front of a wall of his paintings in his gallery and studio in Cambridge. – David Bebee , Waterloo Region Record
CAMBRIDGE — Bill Schwarz walks the streets of Pozos, the old mining town northwest of Mexico City that has become a mecca for artists.
Schwarz walks until he sees a building, street or vista that inspires him.
After taking a photograph, he unfolds a portable chair and takes out a sketch book. Like he always does on sketching trips, Schwarz notes the date and time of day on the blank page.
He sketches his interpretation of the scene, not trying for an exact likeness. Then he packs up and finds another interesting place.
“So probably I will do three of four of these in a morning,” says Schwarz.
“I then go back to my hotel and I put them into a watercolour sketch, that again is somewhat like I have seen, but a further interpretation with some imagination to it.”
Typically, he finishes about 35 sketches and watercolours on a trip lasting one to three weeks. He has travelled to places such as California, Sicily, the south of France, an island in the Bay of Fundy, Northern Europe and Scandinavia, among many others. Sketching all along the way.
In his home-based studio back in Cambridge, that material is reimagined into his colourful, joyful paintings. The 74-year-old paints mostly with oils on canvas but also uses acrylics and casein. Sometimes he paints on wood panels or Plexiglas.
“When I do my art, I tell people I paint with three I’s — inspiration, interpretation and imagination,” Schwarz says.
Twenty years ago Schwarz’s wife, Nancy, came home with a brochure from the library about drawing classes. She wanted her husband, a commercial lawyer, to take the art classes with her. Schwarz looked at the brochure, and saw there was also a wine-tasting course, which interested him more.
“During the night I spent some sleepless and restless hours, and realized that when Nancy suggests something, it is usually right. So in the morning I said to her: ‘OK, Nancy, I think I won’t take the wine appreciation, I will take the drawing course with you.’ That’s the way it started,” says Schwarz, who divides his time evenly these days between art and law.
After a couple of years of drawing, he started painting. He continued taking art courses and joined groups of other painters on trips. His paintings hang in seven galleries across the country — including his own Kirkwood Wagner Gallery — and he’s a member of the Society of Canadian Artists.
His interest in architecture returned with a colourful, creative vengeance when he began painting.
“I think that’s probably why my motifs are probably all buildings and structures,” says Schwarz. “I think that’s kind of why I just love doing what I am doing.”
Brilliant paintings of buildings cover the walls of his gallery, sometimes with old vehicles and utility poles or church spires jabbing into the sky. There might be some rounded, bare hills in the background. Or maybe it’s a waterfront with boats.
Roof lines dip and curve, walls lean in or out, and perspectives are playfully skewed. Everything on the walls around him comes out of the sketches he made on trips. The scenes that inspire him are static, but the paintings are anything but as lines swerve and dip in bright colours.
Buildings and streets, museums and galleries and waterfronts are all rich sources of inspiration for the painter. He always travels with a sketch book, pens and watercolours. He has kept all of his sketch books. They are numbered — one to 72 — and shelved in his studio.
He gets up from a chair during an interview and quickly finds book No. 66 with the drawings and watercolours from his last trip to Mexico. He opens it up. On the left page is a photograph of a church. On the right is his sketch, and he’s added some buildings and a vehicle.
The sketch books hold the main ingredients for the large paintings he does in his studio.
Schwarz first primes the canvas with black. Reimagining the material from the sketch books, he uses chalk to outline the new work. Then he paints.
“I only paint the colours that I feel,” says Schwartz. “You won’t see colours like that anywhere.”
And what he feels is pure joy. A self-described optimist, his works are exuberant celebrations of built environments. Old neighbourhoods never looked as bright and cheery as they do in his paintings.
During one trip along the Erie Canal, he found the empty factories, warehouses and foundries along the historic waterway to be “a paradise.”
Afterward, he painted a large canvas with sagging rooflines, curving eves, an old boardfence, smoke stacks, a factory and poles jutting out of the colourful collection of structures. It is a post-industrial landscape, but is light and colourful.
Some of the other paintings are inspired by the back lanes of a section of Toronto once known as the Ward — Spadina to Bay, and Carlton to Queen.
Born and raised in Regina, a precocious Schwarz moved to London when he was 16 to study business at Western. The idea of starting out as a junior sales rep when he really wanted to be the boss caused him to rethink a corporate career. He was also interested in law or architecture.
After earning a law degree from the University of Toronto, he established a thriving practice in Cambridge.
Schwarz has been practising commercial and corporate law since the 1960s. Nancy, a psychotherapist, works out of their home on Thorne Street in central Galt and his law practice is across the street, 18 steps away.
“Fundamentally, I am a very creative person,” says Schwarz. “Throughout my law career I did all kinds of things — started a restaurant, built a couple of subdivisions, always doing something creative outside the practice of law.”