Donald Choboter, B.A., B.Ed.

Donald Choboter was born in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada in the final years of the Great Depression. He grew up and obtained all of his formal education, and spent much of his adult life on the prairies.

As a young married man, with a wife and two children, and a background in business management he made a significant career change in the late 60's. He commenced his university training with a major in the fine arts of painting and sculpture, with additional courses in the philosophy of art and art history. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in this area which he later augmented with a Bachelor of Education. While teaching he was slowly developing a body of art work which began essentially in a realistic vein. Although he had a strong attraction toward abstraction and stylization in art, and was strongly influenced by many of the impressionist and modern painters, he felt that before he was qualified to attempt serious abstraction he should have a solid background in realism.

During the early 70's his first serious abstract paintings which he called his "Henry Moore-like" series were to set the stage, if not for his later painting techniques, but for his subject matter which remained constant throughout his career. There had to be a recognizable realistic element in his work. Despite the fact that this element was, at times, very obscured, depending on the technique which he employed, it was always there.

His earliest abstraction, the "Henry Moore-like" paintings were done with the assistance of preliminary drawings on stretched canvas supports. Later, he abandoned the preliminary drawing approach and worked directly into the canvas. Due to the nature of the multiple changes which characterized this form of aggressive painting he discovered that the canvas support was not able to adequately carry the work in progress and switched over to the more durable masonite support. This enabled him to experiment vigorously with his medium in an attempt to achieve the images and color arrangements that he was striving for. Not being easily satisfied with this result he would make multiple changes in composition and colour arrangement in the same work until he was satisfied that what he ultimately found was considered by him as being a "work of art". This aggressive and unrelenting approach continued throughout his career, which led one to believe that rather than developing a painting he was conducting an experiment each time he started a new work.

As mentioned the artist always required a realistic element to be present in his work. Examination of the paintings during different periods of his life confirms this, although for much of the time he took many liberties in presenting these realistic elements. The "essence" of realism was there but very little attempt was made toward anatomical accuracy, particularly in figure renditions. Surprisingly in the late 90's he began to slowly change this. Although the figures were still stylized abstractions he began to incorporate anatomically correct elements in them. In addition to this profound change he was also starting to treat color application in a different way. Rather than use the brush to apply the paint he poured the paint onto the board and allowed it to create designs which he either corrected or kept. It was via this moving paint that the faces and figures of the subjects evolved. These characterizations were obtained by manipulating the wet, moving paint manually until a desired result was obtained. Apparently many attempts preceded the final result. Since these paintings, out of necessity, were produced flat on the floor the "fine tuning" of the work was finally done on the easel when the paint was dry. On examination of the paintings produced in this manner, very few, if any, show brushstrokes.

The artist claimed that it would have been impossible for him to have produced work of this sort twenty years ago. His experiences since then presented him with the ability to produce work in this manner.

Another distinctive technique that this experienced artist is employing is equally challenging. In this technique he randomly throws or spatters paint on a support with no attempt to produce any thing that looks realistic. At this stage he is only concerned about proper colour and line distribution, and will be applying this paint on a flat surface. When the paint dries the artist will then develop the realistic elements from different fragments of lines and colours which seem to suggest certain physical characteristics. This is particularly difficult since it requires that this must be done within the boundaries of good balance, harmony, etc. (elements of a good painting).

Once again it seems that each painting is a unique experiment in the area of visual art, and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate.

The artist has stated that because of the extreme difficulty and the challenging nature of these two techniques he'll probably be involved with them for some time to come.

Choboter resides in the Vancouver area and has been painting exclusively since the early 80's.