Deryk Houston

Artist in Victoria, BC. Canada

The National Film Board of Canada: Featured Deryk Houston in the documentary, “From Baghdad to Peace Country”

His work is in the permanent collection of the Canadian war Museum in Ottawa. (On the recommendation of the National Gallery of Canada)

He represented the city of Vancouver, BC., in a solo exhibition of his work in the former Soviet Union.



Deryk at Ogden Point, Victoria, BC. (photo by Elizabeth)

Woodwynn Peace Garden at Woodwynn Farms, a therapeutic community for the homeless. The Peace Garden includes a labyrinth with herbs, fruits and vegetables incorporated.

I am currently featured at Art Works Gallery in Vancouver BC Canada.
And the Greater Victoria Art Gallery rental program.

Muskwa Kechika


I have been working on a series of paintings based on my wilderness trip into the Muskwa Kechika on horseback. These will be exhibited at Canada House Gallery in Banff on March 13th 2010 for two weeks.

The MK is a spectacular wilderness area the size of Ireland in the north of British Columbia..  My journey started with a long drive for several hours towards the Rockies from Fort Nelson to Muncho Lake. We met up with Wayne Sawchuk, our guide. (Wayne was featured in the National Geographic Nov 2008 issue) Our  horses arrived near Muncho Lake on a special truck and the first night we camped on an old landing strip. It was a nice way to become familiar with our fellow travellers and settle in with our horses and sort out our gear. Our group consisted of five people from various walks of life and our task was to take the horses into Mayfield Lake……. several days ride through mountain passes and over river systems. It was an amazing adventure.

One day we camped in a forest of dead trees….it was a stormy night. We had been riding for ten or more  hours and we had no choice but to make the best of it. Every hour a tree would come crashing down and all we could do was hope that none would land on our tents. In the morning we rounded up the horses and as we left that area, one of the pack horses bumped a tree and it came crashing down across the horse of one of our members.. who narrowly avoided being struck himself only because it also landed on the packs of one of the other horses. All the horse spooked and fled. My horse wanted to catch up with the others and so just bolted down the full length of the fallen tree …with me swinging my arms and hands like Jackie Chan as I shoved pointed branches to each side of my body…it was sooo funny…but also alarming!

On another day we had one of the pack horses fall into a deep hole in the river. There were lots of trees and debris in the way but we struggled for an hour to drag it out using a rope around it’s neck. It was obviously suffering from the cold water and it’s eyes were rolling back in it’s poor head. We thought it was near dead. Wayne didn’t want to hook it up to one of the other horses because the awkward, tree filled space was limited and he also didn’t want to break the horses neck. But we eventually did drag it out using manpower alone after an hour of struggling. The horse was ok. It simply stood up and shook itself off and looked at us as if to say…what the hell took you guys so long.

Another time, we had stopped to have lunch break.This meant dismounting and tying the horses up behind some trees. We were in a high mountain pass. Very narrow and the wind was fairly cold. I had an open can of tuna for lunch and some nuts and cheese. I heard one of our group say….. Oh Oh…looks like we have company!  We looked down the narrow valley and saw a grizzly bear coming our way…completely unaware of our presence. It was a beautiful bear. Very big and very woolly. It came along side us and then suddenly it’s head spun in our direction. I thought….it has smelled the tuna fish oil that is all over my shirt:) Yikes!  The bear stood up…looked at us and then dropped to all fours and rushed at us but it stopped almost immediately after a few steps….and then spun around and ran off.

Every day something like this happened. It was an amazing trip and we put great trust in Wayne Sawchuk’s ability to get us through the mountain passes. We made hundreds of river crossings.  Some crossings were very challenging because the spring run off was high and so the rivers were swift and running deep. Sometimes only the horses head was above the water and we would be drowned with water up past our waist…. the horse would be carried down stream with us on it’s back, swimming like crazy until it’s hooves touched the other side of the river. The biggest danger was sweepers…trees that had fallen across the river….if you were swept under one of those you would be gone. We put all our trust in Wayne.

Crossing up over the mountains was a challenge as well. Some parts we could simply hang on with our knees squeezing the sides of the horse. Other times…. as it got steeper, we had to lean way forward and hold onto the mane of the horse so that the saddle would not slide off. Other times it got soooo steep that we had to get off and lead the horse up over the steep terrain. It amazed me how steep a horse can climb. It was so steep that the horse’s heels in front of you were at the same level as your face. I don’t know how they did it. Sometimes the horses didn’t. Two horses unfortunately were lost as they fell backwards down the mountain the previous year. It is not a simple trail ride. Many times you feel that you are on that edge and anything could happen. I was always looking right and left thinking which way I would leap as we climbed those steep slopes. The views and the adventure made it all worthwhile.

One of the paintings shows Wayne Sawchuk. He is on his hose near where he found an arrow head. It dated back ten thousand years. It is amazing that someone stood in this location so long ago….in an area of total wilderness even today. The valley scene where the arrowhead was found is also the subject of the largest painting in this show.

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