About Ian Carter


I have been selected to show eight 50cm X 50cm abstract acrylic paintings by the World Wide Art-Artavita Gallery at Art San Diego in the San Diego Convention Center in early October, 2019. Other locations include, New York, Las Vegas and Miami.

I was one of several selected artists to create, and show a small painting for the Audubon Wildlife Society in San Miguel de Allende.

The Federation of Canadian Artists has asked me to offer small paintings for the upcoming exhibition in Vancouver, BC.  The Opening Reception is on May 30, 2019. Other showings were in June and July, 2019.

I had my own Art Show at the Visual Space Gallery in Vancouver, from May 24 – 26.

I have issued my first Painterlogue and will issue future “- logues” every month. They are on my BLOG.

I have committed solo exhibitions in Vancouver BC on April 2020 and May 2020.

My painting has developed on many levels.  Before becoming a full-time painter, I worked as an architect planning and designing mostly healthcare projects.

Ian CarterI have studied at and attended painting workshops at The Federation of Canadian Artists, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, in Vancouver BC and several in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, notably Jane Dill,  Susan Santiago, Thomas Schaller,  and Bob Burridge.  I like to read and am writing a creative fiction novel. I have started to create another book including many of my design sketches from 1982 to 2003, which will be published late 2020.  Also projected for 2020 is a colour book of my work which will include up to 50 acrylic and watercolour paintings. My other interests include learning Spanish, playing the Classic Guitar, Art, and travelling where our most recent visits have been in Mexico, Europe, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

I was born in England. My parents moved to Scotland when I was 11, where I spent my informative years including gaining a degree in Architecture at the Glasgow School of Architecture.  I practiced Architecture in Scotland and Nigeria before moving to Vancouver BC in 1974, where I retired in 2013.

My places of work included Scotland, the Caribbean, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, the United States and Canada. The three years in Nigeria taught me much about applied arts and sculpture.

My wife and I have three children, and three grandchildren, 25, 23 and 15, as of 2019.

Now my wife and I split our time each year between Vancouver in the summer and San Miguel de Allende in the winter. About San Miguel Tom Robbins said

“If Dante had had the San Miguel experience, he may have written more about heaven and less about hell”

My paintings are intuitive, en plein air and impressionist working in mostly watercolours but sometimes in acrylics from the abstract to impressionist.  I am engaged in two series of acrylic paintings named “Imagined Landscapes of Mexico”, and “Landscape Squares”.  Also, a new series entitled “Landscapes of British Columbia”.  In general my work spans a broad range of subjects and styles, including landscapes, buildings and seascapes.  I attempt to create a feeling, an impression, rather than a picture, to evoke a deeper emotional response from the viewer. Recently, I found a new expression in acrylics, using joint compound (plaster) impressions of various shapes; and also using tissue paper, applying acrylic colours, cutting up the paper and applying the pieces to a gessoed board. The “Landscape Squares”” include these new, for me, approaches and applications to my art. Abstract painting is about memory, passion and expression. I have ventured into painting larger canvasses, 50cm X 50cm.

I like to work in watercolour, with as much under-drawing as I can get away with. I like the unpredictability of a medium which is affected as much by humidity, gravity, the way that heavier particles in the wash settle into the undulations of the paper surface, as by whatever I wish to do with it. In other mediums you have more control, you are responsible for every mark on the page — but with watercolour you are in a dialogue with the paint, it responds to you and you respond to it in turn. This encourages an intuitive response, a spontaneity which allows magic to happen on the page. When I begin an illustration, I usually work up from small sketches — which indicate in a simple way, something of the atmosphere or dynamics of an illustration; then I create drawings on a larger scale. When I’ve reached a stage where the drawing looks complete enough I’ll transfer it to watercolour paper, but I like to leave as much unresolved as possible before starting to put on washes. This allows for an interaction with the medium itself, a dialogue between me and the paint. It’s fun to see where it goes!

“Between the Opening and the Closing there is a Sense of Clarity”

I have had six Art Shows; four in Vancouver and three in San Miguel de Allende.  I have a seventh coming up in San Miguel de Allende at the end of February 2020, and a eighth and ninth in Vancouver in April and May 2020 respectively.  Also in 2019 I have been jury selected for four exhibitions at The Federation of Canadian Artists in Vancouver BC. In October 2019, I will have four large acrylic paintings shown at the Convention Center in San Diego, USA.

My paintings are in galleries and homes in San Miguel de Allende, the USA, Canada and the UK.


Selected Exhibitions

2016 Trafalgar’s Restaurant and Gallery, Vancouver BC, Canada.
2017 Meme Brooks Design Studio/Gallery, Vancouver BC, Canada.
2017 Galeria Bordello, Casa de la Noche, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico.
2018 Visual Space Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

2019 Galeria Bordello, Casa de la Noche, San Miguel de Allende

2019 Visual Space Gallery, Vancouver, BC.

2019 The Federation of Canadian Artists Vancouver BC

Studio 13, April 2020, Granville Island, Vancouver BC.

2020 Visual Space Gallery, May, 2020.


1         Norm and Judy Thordensen, Friday Harbor and Camelback, Arizona,              USA.

2         Holly and Tom Lloyd, of Rhys and Julia Lloyd

3        Meme Brooks Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

4        Laura and Carlos Martinez, San Miguel de Allende


1 Atencion Newspaper, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico.
2 Georgia Strait, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
3 Galleries West, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
4 San Miguel News, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico.
5 Lokkal/San Miguel Events, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico.
6 Federation of Canadian Artists, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Some favourite watercolour quotations

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.

-Andy Warhol”

“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”

-Alberto Giacometti

“In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you’re in trouble.”

Selma Blackburn

“Because watercolor actually moves on the paper, it is the most active of all mediums, almost a performance art.”

Nita Engle

“Water colours are wet colours in water.”

David Hockney

“Everything about watercolor appeals to me, but perhaps above all, the peculiarities of the medium tend to challenge my efforts to control it… it’s more like a performance or a dance.”

John Hulsey

“There’s so much versatility in watercolour. You allow the paint to roll around, and then drop in some colour, just one that takes your fancy, and watch it explode into a shape that morphs into something else… lots of fun.”

Karen Phinney

Some favourite quotations about acrylics

“Time is not the enemy with acrylics. Think of the fast-drying characteristics of the medium as an invitation to paint and repaint, until you see something you like.” (Brad Faegre)

“I miss that smell of an oil painter’s studio… Acrylic companies should put an interesting aroma in their product.” (Nina Allen Freeman)

“In acrylics, what you lose on the straights you make up for on the corners.” (Robert Genn)

“The worst thing about acrylics is that they dry fast, and the best thing about acrylics is that they dry fast.” (Debbie DeBaun)

“Acrylic is the only painting medium that can be all mediums – it can act like watercolour, it can act like oils, and it has its own innate properties.” (Andrew Hamilton)

“Acrylic has an ‘open-door policy’ – once you learn one thing about this medium, a door opens and you realize that the learning possibilities are endless.” (Earl Grenville Killeen)