Welcome to Bill Skuce's Web Site.
Born in Ottawa, Canada, Skuce spent three years at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, obtained a BFA degree in visual arts from the University of Victoria, British Columbia and studied painting in Mexico at the Instituto de Allende. He worked as a design artist for the Ministry of Health in British Columbia and spent five years in Canada's Northwest Territories where He worked as the Territorial Government's Regional Arts and Crafts Officer serving First Nations and Inuit people.
In 1980 Skuce moved with his family to Central America where, for 14 years, he taught art at a private international school, exhibited regularly, sold his paintings and, for seven years, profiled artists and reviewed art exhibitions for the "Tico Times", Costa Rica's English language weekly.
Returning to Vancouver Island in 1997 after spending 17 years in Central America, he taught art for three years at Maxwell International Baha'i School in Shawnigan Lake and managed to exhibit annually in local group shows. In June, 2000, after retiring from full time teaching Skuce spent the next year or so writing then returned to his interest in portraits as he began work on, "Angels in Training". About that painting Skuce says, "I wanted my angels to represent racial diversity, something not found in Classical Western Art's depiction of angels; so for the racial mix I used, as models, four young women representing the black, first nations, oriental and white races, three of them students from the international school I was teaching in."
"It could be considered presumptuous of me," says Skuce, "to even to mention the great masters of High Renaissance and Baroque painting in connection with my own work, yet I have no choice but to acknowledge their role and I have no recourse but to pay homage to them for what I learn and have learned under their tutelage.
Having been born in the first half of the 20th Century" Skuce points out, "my development as an artist was heavily influenced by the prevailing schools, styles and painters from the impressionists on. Like many, in my younger years I travelled the road of abstraction and was dazzled by the historically prominent, the likes of Cezanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Picasso, Tobey and O'Keefe."
It was not until he entered his late 40's that Skuce began to think more about the world of the great masters and to see the relevance of learning from them through the time-honoured tradition of copying a practice that has traditionally taken artists and art students alike into the great galleries and art museums confident that, by copying a great painting, the process of it would yield some secrets of the master who made it.
"Since drawing heads," says Skuce, "has always been an interest of mine, around 1985 I decided to learn to paint them by copying one each of the great masters Murillo (Spanish), Andrea del Sarto (Italian), and Robert Campin (Flemish)." That was the beginning of, "In Good Company". As the work progressed through starts, stops and stages (it was not completed it until 1999) Skuce's interest in the classics was slowly developing.
By 1995 he had embarked upon a major project to paint heads from Michelangello's great ceiling fresco on chunks of flat-surfaced concrete rubble he had "rescued" from the city's by-ways. Twenty eight of them appeared in a show he called, "Master Pieces", hosted in San Jose by the National Insurance Institute of Costa Rica. Twenty-five of these returned to Canada with him and 10 are currently on display at 2391 Poplar Dr. in Sun River Estates, Sooke, BC.
In 2004 Skuce moved to Sooke BC where, in the fall of 2005, although having focused on portrait painting in the nineties and early two thousands, Skuce rekindled an interest in the exploration of landscape painting. Of special appeal to him has been the panoramic format in expressing his great appreciation of the countless vistas on Vancouver Island. Having long held a special love for creatures of land, sea and air, Skuce has numerous times returned to them for subject matter in his paintings.
Skuce's art concentration over the years has run the gamut from abstract to classical painting. None of the numerous paintings done in his Abstract Period appear on his website at the moment, however he now allows himself complete latitude in the use of methods, media, style and practices found in the entire body of his earlier work.***
Skuce, having embraced the Baha'i Faith in 1966, shares below a few quotations from its Sacred Writings that he has found particularly encouraging and stimulating in his experience as an artist:
"All art is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When this light shines through the mind of a musician, it manifests itself in beautiful harmonies.. Again, shining through the mind of a poet, it is seen in fine poetry and poetic prose. When the light of the sun of truth inspires the mind of a painter, he produces marvelous pictures. These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God." ('Abdu'l-Baha) "Let your vision be world embracing and not confined to your own selves." (Bahá'u'lláh)
"I rejoice to hear that thou takest pains with thine art, for in this wonderful new age, art is worship. The more thou strivest to perfect it, the closer thou wilt come to God. What bestowal could be greater than this, that one's art should be even as the act of worshipping the Lord? That is to say, when thy fingers grasp the paint brush, it is as if thou wert at prayer in the Temple." ('Abdu'l-Baha)