I have been teaching art and music in British Columbia High Schools for over 20 years. My wife is an art teacher too, and the career has been rewarding for us, allowing us to raise a family of two daughters, collaborate on classroom ideas, and continue to create art on a daily basis. The job has allowed me the time to be a jazz saxophonist on the side, which helps me find some sort of creative balance.

In my paintings, I love to explore the tension between apparent abstraction and attempted representation. This duality is rooted in my interest in musical improvisation, which relies on a similar dichotomy of approaches. Playing jazz involves learning a musical language; memorizing short, tried-and-true phrases that can be compartmentalized over chord changes. This is a deliberate process that takes time to develop. Simultaneously, one searches for a more natural and organic means of expression- I often start with a simple structure and try to expand in rhythmic and harmonic ways by listening and responding to what is happening around me. The two approaches in music happen at the same time. Sometimes impulsive and intuitive, then careful and deliberate, and back and forth. As with jazz, the creative improvisation in painting takes place within an established framework. I like to leave the painting while there are still competing elements, a bit of atonality if you will. Themes that eventually develop seem to be about conflict, a sense of precariousness, and transition. In the end, I just want to put the image through its paces.





© 2015 by Robert Fee