For the month of May we are putting a spotlight on artist John Rombough's paintings!

The influences on my style of art come from many places. I am a contemporary woodland painter and use strong supporting black lines and vibrant colours. I am inspired by the Dene culture itself – the aspects of animals, clans and honouring ancestors. My dad was from Lutsel K’e. I feel the earth tones that I see on the land and express myself through spiritual aspects of art; whatever flows through me comes from my heart.

I began painting over 20 years ago. I am self-taught, starting off with acrylics and over years have been mentored using vibrant colours. My main mentors are other artists such as Ojibwe Norval Morrisseau, the grandfather of contemporary woodland style, and those from the native group of seven.

I was adopted out of the North but came back to relearn my culture. I create art because I want to express myself and give back to my Dene culture. When I teach kids, I see their expressions when they are creating and it is a promising feeling. It makes me feel I am on the right track and helping establish a creative energy.

I usually work on a large series of about 20 to 30 paintings at a time. They all come to me naturally and are not thought out at all. Every painting is different and has a different theme. It kind of just fills itself in – it is amazing how it works that way on its own. I love that there are no rules and I can just express myself naturally with the colour wheel. It is really fun to be free and speak on the canvas and work with landscape, tree lines, faces in rock formations… I love that it all ties into one and I can feel well balanced on the canvas. - J. Rombough