Saturday 26 December 2020

Poet, Artist and Photographer Dave Skyrie of Grand Barachois, NB.


I had the pleasure of meeting Dave at a Frye Festival event held in Shediac, where he and many other authors and poets were invited to read their works. An affable man, he was easy to talk to. I’ve since followed him on Facebook and admire his many photos and works of art.

He has kindly agreed to a 4Q Interview and is sharing several of his photos and works of poetry.


Dave has a degree in Arts from Concordia University in Montreal. Dave started writing in the late sixties and has published in a variety of Canadian literary journals.  Dave is a member of The Breach House Gang, a writers’ group in South East New Brunswick. Dave started painting in 2000, after a one year stay in Brazil and works in a variety of media.  Dave has participated in over 50 solo and group exhibitions. Dave's current work is an exploration of abstract forms and textures on larger canvas. A past member of Galerie 12 in Moncton, the AAAPNB (Assoc. of Acadian Artists of N.B.) and the Writers Federation of New Brunswick, Dave has also published 2 books of poetry. Dave's work appears presently in both private and public collections in Canada, US and Europe. He resides in Grand Barachois, N.B.


4Q: Before we discuss other creative endeavors, please tell us about your poetry, your inspirations.


DS: Writing poetry, for me, began in the late sixties when I attended CEGEP in Montreal. It was all due to the encouragement of one of my teachers, Sister Simpson.  I was excited about songs being written during this period by people like Leonard Cohen, Eric Anderson and Bob Dylan. They were writing lyrics that really resounded in me and I tried to write this kind of stuff as well. Sister Simpson encouraged me to continue.  Then the following year at Concordia University I encountered Al Purdy and the poetry bomb really went off. He taught me to find my own voice. We corresponded for quite a long time and I believe he has been the largest influence in my writing.



4Q: You have a unique style in your photos of nature and our natural surroundings. My understanding is that you trained as a photographer in Moncton. Under whose direction and what is the key element you look to capture?

All photo copyrights owned by Dave Skyrie.


DS: I studied photography for one semester at the New Brunswick Community College in Moncton under Tom Barnes. I have been learning it on my own ever since then. I think that in my photography one of the key elements I strive to capture is the sense of the passage of time. The unique moments that will not come again. The person in an out of the ordinary pose, the bird between the perch and flight…difficult to explain really. Haven’t got it yet.



4Q: As with all new guests, please share a childhood memory and/or anecdote.



DS: May I offer this poem about memories as an early teen in Montreal instead?

 (Copyright belongs to the author. Used with permission)

 Not yet paved


There used to be kneeling

there used to be harsh

and difficult words

in Latin and High Masses

with songs and sermons

so long and boring that

they would drive boys

into Sunday morning pool halls

where church money was spent

on 2-for-a-nickel cigarettes

and pinball.

Now the kneeling benches

have been taken out

to accommodate

the Bingo games.


There used to be a giant tree

on Cobourg Street in Montreal

which marked the end

of the English neighborhood

and the start of the French

and the dark woods behind

where we name-called and battled

not really knowing or caring why

only that this was what was done

by English and French kids

on a Saturday night

in Montreal after a Leafs-Habs game

no matter who won.

There used to be girls.

A lot of girls. Girls

at soda fountains, girls

on the streets and in pool halls, girls

in packs at parks checking out

the boys playing ball, girls

in school looking cool

girls at dances on Saturday nights

all lined up on one side of the hall

daring the boys to ask them to dance

the boys nervous and unaware

that the girls almost never

ever said no.


There used to be friends,

Marty, Rheal and Robert

porch sitting on summer evenings

drinking cold Cokes in green glass bottles

the green glass bottles we believed

to be the mark of the better Cokes,

the American Cokes, and in those days

everything seemed better from the States

especially the music that drifted in

and out of the static late at night

between the hysterics of the DJ's

and the Wolfman howling

into the Montreal air

on battery-hungry transistor radios

a kind of avant-garde scratchy rock-n-roll

that was never heard on any of our own stations

But most of all there used to be

time, time on my side almost unlimited

time, piles and piles of it enough

time it seemed for a lifetime, for bicycling

or running or simply slowly walking down

all those roads, those dark roads

that were not yet paved.



4Q: Lets discuss your paintings. You started painting twenty years ago after a visit to Brazil. How did that influence you? What mediums do you favor?

Copyrights owned by Dave Skyrie.


DS: A bit more than a visit, I spent about a year and a half in Brazil at the age of fifty. It opened my eyes to a different culture, an abundance of color and the need to see and create new things. I think this is when my artistic vision kind of changed from photography (being happy with a copy of something) to abstract painting or actually feeling the need to create something that has not existed before. An exciting revelation for me.

I believe that art is an argument that the artist is constantly having with himself and that art is found in the process of creation and not in the end result or product. The surface of the painting needs to reflect this argument, this tension that exists between artist and canvas. This is why the surface of a painting, the texture and form, the strokes and scratches are more important to me than the finished painting itself. The give and take of the paint, the layering on and the scratching off of paint, this is where the art is to be found. 


I rarely begin a painting knowing the direction it will take. Creativity comes best to me when the mind is empty.  With no reference save for a preferred palette of colors and a huge amount of trust in instinct, the painting begins with a single stroke or splash of color.  There are no rules, there can be no formula.



4Q: Of all your creative endeavors, is there one that gives you the most pleasure? And why?


All photo copyrights owned by Dave Skyrie.

DS: I think equal pleasure is derived from all of them, painting, writing, photography. They are all solitary endeavors. Writing requires the least equipment and takes up much less actual space than the other two. The poems are usually started and “first-drafted” in my head and so do not even require pencil or paper. Same with painting. Nature often presents me with patterns that I can begin to work out as paintings in my mind.  I think this is why poets and painters often have that far away look in their eyes. Sleeping? No. Working things out.



4Q:  Are your paintings and/or photos, books of poetry on display and available for purchase?

All photo copyrights owned by Dave Skyrie.


DS: My artwork can be seen at Galerie du tchai, in Richibucto, at the gallery at Société Culturelle Kent-Sud (SCKS) in Bouctouche, at The Oak Haus on Botsford St in Moncton, and in my studio which is open to the public in Grand Barachois, NB.  Poetry is available via my web site and on-line via




4Q: Anything else you’d like to share with us?



DS: Thoughts of the day in no particular order.......04-01-17

 (Copyright belongs to the author. Used with permission)




Is it just me

Or are there

Far too many

Actors named

Ryan these days?


Very confusing.




That Trivago guy

Has no rhythm.




Why is Tony Clifton

Such a forgettable name?




This painting is way too much

Like Romeo's piece ... but I like it.

Do I keep it......paint over it?





Is this what Leonard meant

When he wrote,

"Love me because nothing happens."?





I haven't had

a decent thought in days.





Thank you, Dave, for being our special guest this week. Wishing you continued success and fulfillment with your pastimes.


For you wonderful readers wanting to know more about Dave and his work, please follow this link.


On the web at

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