Artist Paul Michael Joseph Van Ginkel

Photo by Sean LeBlanc, March 2023

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1960, Paul moved with his family to Calgary, Alberta in 1973. In search of change and new stimulation he then moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 1996, however, returned to Calgary in 2001. Prior to earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in New York, Paul was educated at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary from 1979 to 1983 (now the Alberta University of the Arts). After working for the Calgary Herald newspaper as an editorial illustrator (as well as a freelance commercial illustrator) for 6 years, he has been a full time fine art painter since 1990.

Part of Paul’s growth as an artist has come from extended painting (and research) trips to major art centres including Italy, New York, Santa Fe, Mexico and Australia. He also continues to travel the globe in search of new artistic stimulation while expanding his vast archive of photographic reference material. An example of one of these trips was travelling to Seville and Madrid, Spain (in 2007), to research Flamenco culture in preparation for a new series of paintings. Many of the dancers and musicians he met have been captured in his ongoing series of Flamenco paintings. 

There have been many videos on Paul's art and career including a 30 minute documentary made in 2019 titled "Heartland Country: Cowboy Culture" (available on Amazon Prime). Articles on his work have also been published in numerous major magazines and newspapers including the July/August, 2023 issue of Art of the West and a 2004 cover feature story in Southwest Art. He’s also been honoured with several distinctions and awards including a finalist for a 2013 Calgary Stampede Legacy Award and being selected by Fresco Fine Art Publishers (Albuquerque, New Mexico) as one of the top Western artists working today (a hard cover book was published, titled "Western Traditions – Contemporary Artists of the American West"). Paul has received numerous prestigious commissions including two large paintings in 2022 from Siksika Chief Ouray Crowfoot to commemorate the signing of the 1910 Land Reclamation Agreement with the Federal Government and in 2006 being the first "fine artist" selected to paint the annual Calgary Stampede poster (widely considered the pinnacle of Western art). Part of that commission was having the original 60X40" oil painting "Loyal Friends" sold at the Stampede auction in 2006 for $37,500.

Paul embraces the challenge of painting many different subjects which inevitably inspire new techniques and styles. However, he specializes in Western themes, specifically equine subjects (cowboy life, equestrian, polo, dressage etc). Intensely drawn to the beauty, passion, power and history of the horse, Paul feels he can execute a diverse variety of moods and compositions – from a small painting of a single quiet foal - to a large canvas of over 160 stampeding horses - to an abstract and impressionistic Stallion piece. Fortunately, Calgary has a strong market for Western paintings primarily influenced by the annual Calgary Stampede. Paul’s first painting in the Stampede Western Art Auction was in 1986 and he continued to be included for many years. Inspired by receiving the "Best of Show" award at the Stampede auction in 1990 (he subsequently won 3 more), the following year he staged his first of 15 consecutive exhibitions at the Calgary Stampede Western Showcase. After a break to explore other exhibition opportunities, he returned to the Stampede show and will stage his 20th show in 2023.

In addition to Calgary, a very strong market for his Western paintings is the Southwest United States. At one point Paul had significant gallery representation in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Scottsdale, Arizona; Aspen, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Palm Springs, California and San Antonio, Texas. Currently he’s chosen to have only one US gallery represent his work, the Broadmoor Galleries in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In 2006 with his wife Kristin (a retired architect) they designed and built a 6000 square foot Calgary home that included Paul’s studio and gallery. For 7 years they hosted private art events in that wonderful space (See Videos). Subsequently, from January 2013 to January 2019 Paul owned and operated the Van Ginkel Art Gallery (and studio) in historic Inglewood, Calgary. In December 2021 Paul moved his Calgary studio to Paul and Kristin are blessed with a beautiful daughter, Isabella, born in 2006.

"I’m committed to a life of creating images. My primary goal is to master the art of painting and develop increasingly the ability to convey my passion for the subjects I explore. These paintings are intended to document my diverse experiences in life and intimately express what inspires me. I expect my painting "style" to continue to evolve as I strive to express how I feel about the subject I’m focussed on. I’m rarely preoccupied with technique, rather, I allow the painting’s subject, expression and voice to dictate the type of "visual life or language" it should have. I feel each painting is a creative expression similar to a piece of music, dance performance or poetry. For me, the symbolic ritual of signing the painting represents the completion of the piece, however, also the beginning of its long journey through an unknown future."

Copyright © 2019 Paul Van Ginkel. All rights Reserved.