Derek Rickwood, BFA, has been establishing himself as Vancouver Island's most accomplished artist in custom oil paintings.


Derek completed his diploma in Fine Arts from Malaspina College (Vancouver Island University) in 1986. During this time, he only had one year of oil painting experience when he was asked to create his first paid commission of Renoir's - Spring Bouquet (1987). He completed this painting for Sharon and Al Slaughter of Nanoose Bay, B.C. Then, one year later, Derek's first original commission was created for David Strang, a local successful financial investment planner. This painting was derived from a photograph of a famous bald eagle nesting spot and was entitled, Eagle Point (1987).


In 1990, Derek completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria. During this time, he painted his third commission, Monet's - Seine at Bougival (1989) for Joe and Eloise Bratkowski of Nanaimo.


Derek continued to create more painting commissions. He painted Monet's - Village on the Seine (1992) for Bradley Thompson's home. He also produced another oil painting for David Strang's office and it was called, Noon at Cascais (1995). After this work, he created Santorini Sunset (1996) for Scott and Suzanne Currie's home.


1997, was a very productive art commission year for Derek and also a year of firsts. He completed three paintings; one for an accounting firm, one for his first resort and his first mural for an Italian society’s lodge.


In 1997, Derek took a photograph of Nanaimo's Long Lake and created, Sunrise at Long Lake (1997) for Douglas A. Johnston, a successful certified accountant in Nanaimo, B.C. This was the first painting Derek created from his own photographs.


That same year, he was commissioned by John Melideo, the President of the Cavallotti Society, to paint a mural on the stage wall. The result was a beautifully painted image of Venice’s world-renowned landmark entitled, Rialto Bridge (1997). It was unveiled during a Columbus celebration for a capacity crowd including local dignitaries, visiting Italian opera singers and the Italian Consulate General and his wife. Derek dedicated the painting to his father, Randy Rickwood and to the Italian community.


The last painting that Derek created in 1997 was commissioned by the owners of the world-famous Aerie Resort and Spa. The owners, Leo and Maria Schuster, wanted a painting for the newly expanded spa. They wanted to capture the resort’s spectacular sunrise. So with a camera in hand, Derek got up early in the morning and photographed a sunrise view off the resort’s restaurant balcony. The painting was unveiled during a special chocolate presentation and dinner function the resort sponsored that featured world-renowned chocolatier – Bernard Callebaut and his business colleagues. The painting was able to successfully capture the incredible and dynamic sunrise and appropriately entitled, View from the Aerie (1997).


While starting up his own menswear business with his wife, Lisa, Derek took on another painting commission for David Kirk entitled, Mystic Forest (1999). This painting was unveiled as a gift for David’s wife, Pam to celebrate their 15th anniversary.


From 1999 – 2008 Derek took a hiatus from painting except a small painting he created in 2001, entitled Butter Church donated to the Festival of Trees Gala to support the Malaspina/University Foundation (Now the University of Vancouver Island). During this time, he was very busy running a quality menswear store.


In 2009, Derek began painting again. He completed - Santorini Windmill (2009) as a gift for his dear friend, Cory Parson.


He next commission for Zoe Dams was completed and unveiled in August, 2009, and entitled – Newcastle & Protection Islands Sunrise as a family gift for her husband, Curt, for his retirement from teaching.


When he’s not painting Derek’s very busy a professional clothier serving his clients throughout Vancouver Island. His passion for men’s fashion began when he was thirteen and began his clothing career when he was nineteen in 1977.


With demands of his clothing profession he has managed to complete two special commissions.


One for long time friend, art & clothing client, Doug Johnston entitled, Johnston View completed February 2013. Based on the picture Derek had taken from the balcony of Doug’s home looking out over his property depicting a spectacular west coast view. In the painting’s foreground are his pool’s angelic ornaments that are special to Doug because they remind him of the time he has spent with his grandchildren. The painting was meant for his home but are for now is displayed proudly in his accounting firm’s main lobby wall.


The next commission is very special to Derek. Up to now he has never created a painting for any of his family. That has changed because he recently created a landscape for his dear sister Kellee this past March 2014, entitled, Hostetter’s View. Kellee took the photo of a well known picturesque seaside in PEI while visiting Derek’s other sister Jillian last summer. Derek had promised Kellee a painting for a number of years – now he has! He would love to eventually create painting for his mom, three other sisters and brother.


Derek focused on creating landscape paintings for the golf industry and interior designers.


In 2014, he has successfully landed a major commission for the Nanaimo Golf Course’s new clubhouse – a local prestigious golf course. It should help launch his career in this niche market. His realistic style is perfect for this industry. He unveiled Nanaimo Golf Course Clubhouse View in August 2014 during a member’s in-house championship awards dinner.


Since August 2014, Derek has completed a completed a number of other commissions, which happened due to his connections he made through his menswear business.


Completed on December 20th, ‘Family Home’, for Rob Grey as a gift for his wife Melanie, was a beautiful painting that depicted Melanie with her mom in front of their family farmhouse. ‘Police Point’ completed in October 23rd, 2016 was painted for Mike and Audrey from a photo taken by Audrey when she was with her mom at a special area at Police Point Park near Medicine Hat, Alberta. This was a park where she often spent time hiking with her daughters.


The next painting was commissioned by a long-time friend who asked Derek to create a painting of his newly renovated home as a birthday gift for his wife, appropriately called ‘Home’. His friend preferred his name to be remain anonymous. His friend wanted an aerial view of his home, so a drone was used to take the photograph. ‘Home’ was completed on October 19th, 2017.


During his art career, Derek had never painted an animal, until Justin McElhone asked Derek to do a portrait of his wife Anna on her horse named, Finnegan. Justin wanted Derek to show the horse’s natural muscle stress and sweat he was going through as Anne, a professional jumper was riding her beloved Finnegan. On January 24th, 2018 Derek completed ‘Anna and Finnegan’


This commission required a new way to frame his work. Justin wanted the painting framed with live edge Western Maple. Derek’s framer was unable to create the frame, so Derek created the frame.


On April 11th, Derek received an email from Lt (N) Sonja Maul-Wilson requesting a painting of the HMCS Calgary Naval ship and to offer prints of the painting so the ship’s company could use them as gifts, and they could be sold to support the Calgary Firefighters’ Burn Treatment Society which supports burn victims at the Foothill’s Hospital Burn Unit. Derek quickly replied with a proposal. This commission was special to Derek because his father loved the Canadian navy and was a career man in Canadian Air Force. Derek was excited to be given the commission and completed ‘HMCS Calgary’ He had the pleasure to complete and sign this painting, entitled ‘HMCS Calgary’ on Sunday, December 16th, 2018. Derek enjoys his ongoing relationship with HMCS Calgary ship’s company.


On May 22nd, 2019, Derek was approached by a long-time friend to paint a personal portrait of his of his long-term partner, a woman he loves very much. The painting’s image was derived from a photograph taken when they were dating. Derek enjoyed capturing his friend’s special memory.


Derek’s next oil commission began with an email on March 17th, 2020, from friend and fellow Rotarian, Sheila Anderson. She had a photograph of a beautiful Arbutus tree with an ocean view that she wanted painted. It was during this time when the world pandemic took off and it was also a memorable day as Derek had lost his father, Randy, exactly 12 years ago to the day. A fortunate commission! This painting, entitled, ‘Arbutus Island View’ was completed and signed Saturday, August 1st, 2020.


Derek was also very productive and started a couple more painting commissions - one is of the famous west coast biological research vessel, the W. E. Ricker and the other painting is a portrait of a dear friend Derek lost in 2017 and is for his friend’s family.


Derek is also busy creating two fine art exhibits supporting Rotary locally and around the world for his new art movement he founded, called: Cause Art +. He has begun a new international Cause Art + project about environmental sustainability. Derek will keep you updated on this and his other unique avante-garde art exhibitions.


He will keep you posted with news about his unique avante-garde art exhibitions.