Northern Ont. painter celebrates more than 60 years of selling artwork

In Jack Lockhart’s art studio in North Bay, Ont. is where the magic happens – with the image in his head and a dripping brush in his hand, Lockhart paints.

Artist Jack Lockhart in his personal studio office working on his latest piece, a painting of a North Bay Battalion player. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)You could say it is in his blood.

“My grandfather was an artist in Winnipeg,” Lockhart said.

“I only had the one lesson in my life and that was from him.”

Lockhart said he was out shopping for art supplies in Winnipeg, Man. when he purchased a tray of colours and his grandfather told him to return it and come back with only the primary colours: red, blue and yellow.

“He said ‘You are going to learn how to mix paint because you can make any colour you want from those three colours,’” said Lockhart explaining the memory.

The artist told CTV News that it all started for him when he was just six years old. In school, he designed a pictorial map of the Town of Fort Francis, where he grew up.

“I always remember the kindergarten teacher taking the painting I had done in kindergarten and showing all the students in the school,” he said.

Fast forward to today, Lockhart has been selling his paintings for more than 60 years and making art for even longer than that. He said he estimates that he has made about 5,000 originals, not including his limited edition prints.

“It’s kind of addictive in a sense. You want to keep painting. You’re always striving to paint the next painting,” he said.

“You’re allowed to express yourself through art. Authors paint with words and we paint with paint. It’s expression.”

Jack Lockhart shows CTV News’ Eric Taschner artworks in his personal gallery. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)His basement is his art gallery and he has a separate office for making the frames for his painting.

His work varies from watercolours, to oil paintings to abstract pictures.

“I prefer the oil for the larger ones,” Lockhart said while giving CTV News a tour of the gallery.

Jack Lockhart show the different paint mediums he uses for his work. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

Perhaps his most famous piece of art is of a canoeist on the Severn River, near Orillia, Ont. The painting is called ‘Only Way To Go.’ It has received acclaim in magazines, brochures and publications. He and his wife, Bea who makes stained-glass windows, were spending quality time with friends of theirs when a man in a canoe paddled by.

“It was just a simple scene,” Lockhart said.

“So I quickly grabbed a photograph of it and drew a little sketch.”

Lockhart said wanted to speak with the man to ask for his permission to paint the photo of him, but he didn’t get the opportunity to.

“When I did the painting, I made sure that I put the paddle of the canoe up near his face and he’s wearing dark glasses, so it could be anybody,” he said.

“It became something that everybody seemed to identify with. It had so much to deal with northern Ontario, for one thing, and the quiet and peace.”

‘Only Way To Go,’ perhaps Jack Lockhart’s most famous painting. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario) His artwork hangs in homes, offices and spaces throughout North Bay and to a further extent all around the world. Former Ontario premiers, lieutenant governors, and Canadian and U.S. ambassadors all own his art.

Some of his patrons include the late Canadian singer Michael Burgess, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr.

“The biggest advantage is having the chance to meet people,” Lockhart said.

“We’ve met people of all walks of life from all over the world. It’s a very nice thing to think of where your paintings are hanging.”

Lockhart said his works of art bring pleasure and tranquility to the buyer and, most importantly, to himself.

“It’s a part of you in that painting,” he said.

You can view more photos from CTV News’ tour of his gallery here or to get more information on and to view more of Lockhart’s work, visit his website.

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