Featured Artist Biographies

2914 Calendar Collage

The CAHS has partnered with talented Canadian aviation artists to produce a stunning full colour 2014 calendar as well as a set of greeting cards featuring the sketches of illustrator Bill Wheeler. To learn more about the gifted artists involved, click on each name below for a short biography and Q&A session.


Allan Botting Allan Botting

Allan Botting has spent all his working life in Mechanical Engineering and always had an interest in aviation. Now retired and residing in Victoria, British Columbia, painting is his hobby. Some paintings are on display in aviation museums in Canada and private collections. His goal is to paint Canadian aircraft subjects as realistically as possible.

charles thompson 300Charles J. Thompson

After doing his National Service in the RAF from 1955 –1957, Charles spent 37 years styling automobiles for Ford Motor Co. (Europe), designing such cars as the MkI Cortina, Corsair and MkIV Zephyr/Zodiac. He took early retirement in 1986 and turned to his lifelong interest in aviation and model building.

bill wheeler 300William "Bill" Wheeler

"I was born and grew up in what was then Port Arthur and is now Thunder Bay, located in Northern Ontario on the north shore of Lake Superior. After finishing Grade 13, I came to Toronto in 1951 to attend the Ontario College of Art, earning my AOCA. My BA came much later, a combination of Fine Arts, Anthropology and Geography credits. In Toronto, I worked initially as an illustrator and then became a high school teacher, and ended up the Head of the Art Department at my school.

robert bradford 300Robert W. Bradford

Robert W. Bradford is one of Canada's most accomplished artists. He and his identical twin brother James were born in Toronto on December 17, 1923 (the 20th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered flight). They grew up with similar interests in art and aviation. When they were 18 years old, both of the Bradford brothers enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. James was a flying instructor in western Canada, while Bob served as a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed overseas on the Isle of Man.

cher pruys 300Cher Pruys

I am a self taught artist who mostly paints in acrylic and watercolor, but I also do larger mural pieces (24 to date!) in oil paints. I paint a variety of subject matter but specialize in aviation art. I had a lot of aviation connections early in life: I grew up behind the Regina airport where my aunt worked, and spent a lot of time lying in the field looking up in wonder at the beauty of flight. Also, my father was a navigator on a Lancasters with the Pathfinders in WWII.

helene girard 300Hélène Girard

What is your artistic background ?
I have been painting since 1997, starting from a few sketches to the discovery of the world of colors and shapes in acrylic. For many years I have worked to develop a distinctive style. Living in the Canadian North for over 20 years has been my inspiration to paint.

jim bruce 300Jim Bruce

I have been a professional artist since I was hired as a layout artist by The Montreal Star in 1964. I started doing freelance illustrations for magazines in my spare time. In The Star Creative Services art department, I was made an art director after three years and enjoyed working with other artists, ad salesmen and clients. I began also to do more aviation art as my experience as an illustrator grew. I am a charter member of the Canadian Aviation Artists Association; member of the CAHS since 1964; and the Canadian Aviation Heritage Centre since its founding in 1999.

layne larsen 300Layne Larsen

Layne Larsen is an engineer by education, an aviator by training and an artist by avocation. Raised in Moose Jaw, SK, after graduation from Royal Military College (RMC), he spent 38 years in the Canadian Forces/RCAF, retiring in 1994 in the rank of Colonel. Initially, he flew the Argus aircraft from bases on Canada's east coast, and fulfilled progressively more senior engineering and management positions in Canada and Europe over the years, including Deputy Commandant of RMC.

paddy air inuit 300Paddy Gardiner

I was born in 1934 and raised in both the UK and Ireland. After apprenticing in aircraft engineering and immigrating to Canada almost 60 years ago, I have been fortunate to always find employment, although not always in the aviation field. After the Avro Arrow Affair, I have worked in heavy industry, electronics and even installing radio equipment in the Far North. I had an interesting few years working in the survey aircraft modification field. Finally, I was employed by The Boeing Company, which was an enjoyable and fitting end to my working days. The art I now do is for relaxation.

virginie tanguay sepia 300Virginie Tanguay

Née au lac Saint-Jean en 1976, Virginie Tanguay est une artiste peintre, écrivaine et naturaliste passionnée. Elle commence à peindre à l'aquarelle dès l'adolescence, fait des études en arts et lettres ainsi qu'en aménagement de la forêt.

Amoureuse des grands espaces, de ce qui est vivant, c'est là qu'elle puise son inspiration. Elle se laisse bercer par le folklore québécois. L'aquarelle lui permet d'exprimer la douceur et la transparence tout en demeurant énergique. Rendre l'ambiance d'un lieu dans toute sa pureté est son objectif.

Mon intérêt pour l'aviation m'a été transmis par mon père : il pilotait son hydravion avec passion dans ses moments de loisir. J'ai donc eu le privilège de flâner dans le ciel à ses côtés. J'aime peindre des aéronefs car ils représentent tout simplement... la liberté.