Born in Ste. Rose du Lac Manitoba in the 1940s and raised in Laurier, Manitoba, all of my early formative years were spent by being part of large family gatherings and growing up with many cousins.

I started drawing while in elementary school and began painting around the age of 12.  In school the teachers would feature my work in the hallways. During high school I took a correspondence course in illustration art through the Minneapolis Commercial Art Forum. Most of my influences as an artist were from literature and exposure to well known artists. I remember as a child going to my grandmother’s, who was from France, and seeing reproductions of paintings of the French artists, Monet and Gauguin and some Canadian artists hanging on her living room walls. The Group of Seven painters also influenced me.  

I have belonged to various art groups over the years and have had public exhibitions of my work. I displayed and sold through the Hovmand Gallery and the Maple Leaf Gallery.  I’m also interested in photography and painting on ceramic tiles. I work mainly in the mediums of watercolours, acrylics, oils, and pen and ink.

Many of my paintings are owned by private collectors and companies. In the 1970s I did a series of pen and ink sketches for The Lance community newspaper. I also did illustrations for a book of music composed by my cousin Remi Bouchard.

My interests are primarily in the Manitoba scenery and landscape, and the vanishing buildings that our pioneering forefathers built. These vanishing “prairie sentinels” – grain elevators – that dotted our small communities and held them together are featured in many of my pictures. The rugged landscape of the pre Cambrian shield, the open prairies, and the unpopulated north draw my attention and inspire me to record these uniquely Manitoba wonders.

I’m currently represented by The Old Church Gallery and Gifts in Minnedosa and Poor Michael’s Emporium in Onanole,  Manitoba.

   Joel Bouchard