Ken Kirkby

The story of Ken Kirkby’s life is enormous. In fact, there is a book about him called A Painter’s Quest for Canada by Goody Niosi (Libros Libertad Publishing, 2009). Ken’s life has been an incredible journey and includes an amazing piece of Canadian history. Reading the book would be a benefit for all to read.

In the introduction, Ken says he didn’t ever expect to tell the story of his life like this – for it to become a book.

At this stage of my life all I wanted to do was go and live at my favourite place, a small village near a stream on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Most of all, I wanted to live an ordinary sort of life which has so far eluded me, a life where I could sleep when tired, eat when hungry, fly-fish whenever it pleased me and paint all those paintings that had become stored up in me like water behind a dam constructed by the events of my life.

And so it is. Ken spends his time painting all those stored-up images he has carried in his head, fishing whenever it suits him, and feeling blessed by his life.  

It would be safe to say that Ken Kirkby has likely used more paint in his life than any other living painter, most of it to honour a promise made to the people of the Arctic. To know the whole story, you’ll have to read the book, or run into Ken sometime and ask him about it!

I cannot with any certainty tell you if every detail is accurate. What I can say is that the story is true.

Yes, A Painter’s Quest for Canada is available at the Salish Sea!