all of Dr. Donald Flather's oil paintings generally
fall into distinct series, each one based on a particular
subject, geographic region or period of his life. The paintings
done within the series all have a common theme and feel to
them, and can be viewed in the respective Series in the Virtual
Series 1948 to 1966
Animal Series reflects his love of the outdoors and all things
living. He painted as many as 18 oil paintings in
this series. The painting titled "Fish" (Click
here to view) allowed him to use his imagination and show
an environment he could not see. Birds, deer and fish were
his favorite subjects. Donald M. Flather was as gentle as
many of the creatures he painted.
Island Series 1981 to 1987
Baffin Island series is what many argue is his strongest artistic
statement. Inspired by the beauty of the high Arctic, he and
his wife, Grace, traveled to Pond Inlet in July 1981. Donald
had traveled in the Western Arctic and Central Arctic near
McKenzie and the Beaufort Sea in his earlier years. His trip
to the Eastern Arctic (Baffin Island) rounded out his Arctic
Baffin Island series represents the culmination of a lifelong
dedication to painting and is a showcase of the talents he
developed over his lifetime.
stunning scenes were sketched quickly from the air, whereas
others were sketched from a boat. Donald was upset by the
destruction occurring in the remote and fragile arctic environment.
This led Donald to paint the emotionally charged painting
titled "The ("former") Rutting Place of
the Caribou". The Caribou and their mating grounds
have been destroyed by over-hunting and the rampant use of
all terrain vehicles.
painted as many as 11 paintings of this beautiful part of
Canada and all are of his larger size (36" X 48")
which he felt was necessary to reflect the vastness of the
/ Olympic Range of Washington State 1946 to 1975
Painted as many as 9 oil paintings in this region
of Northwest Washington State, U.S.A. He primarily painted
images of dead or burnt-out trees which he called "Forest
Ghosts". Donald was often disturbed by the destruction
of the forest fires caused by man, but also realized their
value in forest regeneration and renewal.
1930's to 1978
series of coastal British Columbia, Canada, is arguably one
of Donald's finest. Locations were primarily around the Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada area but also included the Straight
of Georgia, an area of the Pacific Ocean which lies between
continental Canada and the 500 km. long Vancouver Island.
He painted as many as 16 paintings in this series. Most Vancouverites
recognize his Point Atkinson Lighthouse painting. Donald captures
many stunning scenes, such as his Thetis Island and Point
no Point paintings. Both display his highly stylized clouds
Click here to
see a list of Oil Paintings
British Columbia/ Crispair Farm 1952 to 1975
found trees (especially Aspens) and water (lakes) attractive
features to paint and very representative of this region.
British Columbia lies in the western most part of Canada with
coastline on the Pacific Ocean. Wildlife is very abundant
and well represented in his paintings. Autumn was one of his
favorite times of the year to paint as he could capture much
more color in his world.
Lake, Pavilion Lake and Knouff Lake form many of the locations
of the 18 or so Central B.C. paintings. He painted as many
as 15 oil paintings at or near his Crispair Farm,
located at Celista, BC.
Canada and Ontario Series 1955 to 1978
series features paintings from Algonquin Park which was made
popular by the Group of Seven (Click
here to read more on the Group of Seven). Donald Painted
about half a dozen paintings in Ontario and Quebec and at
least a couple in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. Perhaps
his best one of the six or so he painted in Newfoundland,
is the one at Bonne Bay. Viewers admire his perspective and
color in this unique painting. He also managed to make it
to Labrador where icebergs seemed to be his fascination.
River Valley 1955 to 1977
series contains at least 8 paintings. Donald Flather was very
thorough in covering all aspects of the beautiful nation of
Canada and included trees, oceans, wildlife, mountains, plains,
lakes and even rivers such as the mighty Fraser. The Fraser
River lies in the western part of Canada and winds it's way
through most of the Province of British Columbia eventually
emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The Fraser River Delta is
the very ground on which the Canadian City of Vancouver is
/ Squamish and Whistler Region Series 1928 to 1971
Flather found this region to be full of beautiful locations.
Squamish is situated approximately halfway between the western
Canadian City of Vancouver, British Columbia and Whistler,
BC, an internationally acclaimed Ski Resort. One of his favorite
subjects was Black Tusk Mountain. In his oil painting
"Black Tusk" , as painted from the Southwest, he
successfully combines perspective, style and color to make
this one of his most sought after paintings.
Flather went on to paint at least 7 different renditions of
Black Tusk Mountain and he would often hike up in the remote
area at different times of the year. One slide photograph
was taken on December 27, 1975 at Black Tusk Mountain. At
the age of seventy two and and in the thick of winter, he
would still challenge his physical abilities to the limit
to obtain the breathtaking scenes he would paint.
even traveled to the region between Vancouver and Whistler
before the Ski to Sky highway (the area's main highway today)
was constructed. This would make trips to the area even more
difficult and challenging than just the hikes in the deep
- Princeton Highway Region 1955 to 1972
section of South Central British Columbia, in Western Canada,
was a popular region for D.M. Flather because he would often
travel the Hope-Princeton Highway to get to his Crispair Farm
in the Interior of the province. This series features several
of his colorful "Marsh" scenes. These typically
have water / streams in the foreground with grasses and highly
colored bushes behind and almost always Spruce trees in the
careless highway users have caused forest fires on many occasions
in the area which Dr. Flather also liked to paint. Somehow,
he captured beauty in the aftermath of such tragedies.
Sound Series 1955 to 1976
art critics have argued that the Howe Sound Series is one
of the strongest. Howe Sound is a majestic inlet of water
which lies North of Vancouver, British Columbia between Squamish
and Horseshoe Bay. The East side is bordered by steep mountain
slopes perforated with many rivers and small streams which
pump fresh water into the inlet. Many stunning islands spot
the coastline of 30 kilometers. To the North lies the Sunshine
Coast. Most of the breathtaking area is visible from the Sea
to Sky highway. Donald Flather captured some of the spectacular
views from the many viewpoints along the way. One of his favorite
subjects of this series are the majestic Arbutus trees that
permeate the mountain slopes. D.M. Flather successfully combines
the natural beauty of this area with his own unique style
and color presentation.
1919 to 1965 (Warning - some nudity)
series contains one of D.M. Flathers earliest paintings, entitled
"Miss Sophia". He painted as many as 18 works in
this series although some were left unfinished. They all seem
to share beautiful flowers highlighted by the female form.
(including untitled paintings) 1928 to 1981
series contains a vast selection of paintings, many of which
actually belong to other series by were not included by D.M.
Flather in those series for one reason or another. Some did
not have references on them when the collection was classified
hence they fall into this category.
paintings in this collection show a real departure from his
landscapes. Examples include works that are probably from
his early trips to the Beaufort Sea of Newfoundland. You can
see how this very early style led to the larger and more dramatic
Baffin Island paintings of the 1980's.
untitled oil painting (reference MI72) is a beautiful
scene from the Little Qualicum River area on Vancouver Island
that combines swirling back eddy waters and his early tree
form style. Amongst this series are a number of sailboat scenes
as well. Some of these are local and some are thought to be
from Hawaii. oil paintings (reference MI47 and MI67)
feature fantasy figures dancing over ponds. This may represent
a recurring dream he had as a child.
series represents works that have been located in photograph
collections etc, but have not been photographed when the collection
was catalogued. Most are not dated, or titled, but some have
obvious associations with particular Series.
Some of the images have been taken from slides, and thus don't
appear as crisp as some of the other gallery images.
rush. Spend the time and browse through each series in the
collection. Each oil painting is a piece of Canadian
History to be enjoyed by all.
the New Series Tour
Territories 1938 to 1984
series covers a number of different periods in Donald Flather's
painting career. In the early (1938) painting titled "Onset
of Winter" (near Radium Hot Springs), Donald M. Flather
demonstrates his gentle flowing style. One of his more recent
works, "Pulpit Rock", shows a more charged scene
as heavy storm clouds loom overhead. Much like the Cascade
Series, D.M. Flather used a series of bleached trees on a
snow encrusted hilltop in the painting "Crowfoot Mountain".
The highly abstracted "Spring Tundra" combines Flather's
bright colors in a landscape, at a time in his life when abstracts
Series circa 1953 and prior
this series, Donald was drawn to a particular Ponderosa Pine
Tree at the side of the highway outside Penticton, BC. Apparently
the Canadian Pacific Railway was drawn to this tree as well,
as they heavily promoted their rail services to Easterners
using this tree as one of the images of the West. Donald's
painting titled "Desert and Sage" is an example of a strong
abstraction of a landscape (probably near Osoyoos) that incorporates
a "stripped down" landscape and bright colors. The series
provides contrast between the semi-arid, desert like characteristic
of the region with the abundance of lakes and vegetation near
was very much a botanist and horticulturist as much as he
was a scientist, teacher and painter. Naturally, he found
plants and flowers as subjects that would compliment his love
of painting and his love of plants. Many paintings were derived
from flowers in his Kerrisdale, B.C. home, or in the vicinity
of his home. Others such as the paintings titled "Glacier
Lilies" and "Autumn Sumach" clearly must have been sketched
from regions far from home. The painting titled "Vine Maples
- Mt. Rainier" is evidence of this.
/ Nicola Valley / Kamloops 1956-1965
loved the Autumn colors in this area, and painted at least
a half dozen paintings incorporating Autumn Aspens or Autumn
trees. However, he also liked the Spring and painted a painting
titled "Spring Greens and Dandelion Lawns" in 1956. This is
one of the many paintings residing with family or friends
somewhere. Donald also saw the darker side of this region,
which is always susceptible to forest fires. Very wet, snowy
Winters lead to heavy Spring growth, which then turns tinder
dry during hot summers. He painted several paintings showing
the charred remains left behind from forest fires.
/ Selkirk / Rocky Mountain Ranges 1940-1978
would argue that this Series is his strongest. It is certainly
one of his most prolific, and he painted as many as 33 scenes
from this region, according to Donald's original catalogue.
Donald beautifully portrays Winter storm scenes (sketched
hastily from Royal Canadian Air Force Flights), mountain peaks,
lakes and trees in an abundance of color and style. Popular
locations included Mt. Sir Donald, Mt. Robson, Eva Lake and
Heather Lake. In these series, he combines elements of the
glaciers in the Baffin Island series, Spruce tree forms and
Autumn colors found in the Miscellaneous and Hope-Princeton
Series, as well as elements not obviously present elsewhere
(ie see the small Mt. Sir Donald Painting).
/ Adams Lake Area 1940 - 1974
area of Central B.C. was obviously a region that impacted
upon Donald. He spent many years here growing up as a little
boy, and returned to the region in his later years to tend
his Crispair Farm, located on the sides of the Shuswap Lake
at Celista B.C.. Donald shows all aspects and seasons of the
region from the cold, desolate barren looking Winter scene
titled "The Lonely Miles" (which represents a friend's trapline),
to the Summer storm in "Sorrento Storm", to the serene setting
and beautiful, warm colors in "Sumach Time".
- Warning - Nudity
real variety of images are present in this series. Most were
painted in the 1970's. "Devil scans the news" provides some
evidence of Donald's sense of humor.
River Region 1961 - 1974
areas Donald painted in this area were Dallas and the Little
Shuswap Area. Of course, river waters are a central theme,
but paintings such as "South Thompson", feature Autumn Glory
trees consistent with Donald's early tree forms and foliage
Island 1947 - 1976 (Warning - some Nudity)
few of Donald's strongest paintings appear in this small series.
The "Storm over Sharpe Pt." painting is very unique to the
collection and features darker tones than his other paintings.
He successfully combines an image of a spirited woman with
a Coastal landscape. "Morning Fog" - Cathedral Grove is one
of his finest forest scenes, and really gives the viewer the
sense of the damp, misty foggy morning giving rise to a warm
and sunny day ahead. One of the paintings in the Miscellaneous
Series ("Little Qualicum River") actually belongs to this
series, and like "Morning Fog", shows glints of the sun shining
in through the giant trees.
Circa 1960's, early 1970's
series represents the largest number of paintings of any series.
Donald felt free to explore many of his different ideas, unrestricted.
Many paintings, such as "Fractured Atom" and "Abstract 93"
reflect on his Scientific way of thinking. Others, such as
"Flamoidea", and "Forest Fire at Night" have a destructive,
fire theme. "Spirit of A-Frame" features geometric shapes,
straight lines and shading, while others are probably abstractions
of plants and flowers. Most are not dated, but some that are
numbered later in the series are dated 1973-75, leading us
to believe that the majority were painted in the 1960's and