Deryk Houston

Artist in Victoria, BC. Canada

Please visit my Patreon Site: and read my postings to learn more about my approach to art.


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

From 2013 to the present, a main project has been the 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 as well as Sooke Harbour House and my wife Elizabeth has her glass-on-glass mosaics there too.

and I also have work available at Merridale Cider and the Avens Gallery in Canmore Alberta.


The "Love" show - a series of paintings inspired by Cirque du Soleil and the Beatles, opened in Vancouver on Feb 12, 2016 at Art Works Gallery
(604) 688-3301
and continued till March 6, 2016

Mr. Kite


click on image for larger view:

Title: For the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Artist:Deryk Houston
Medium:acrylic on canvas
Size: 36″X72″

Story: I am interested in how artists get inspiration and I like how
John Lennon bounced ideas off an old 1843 circus poster he found in a
shop which inspired him to write the song, “For the Benefit of Mr.
Kite”. The lyrics were very much what was on the poster.

In this series I have gone with that idea. If an association leaps into
my brain I just go with it and include it into the work. Sort of like
“Going with the force”:)

You can also view a 3 minute video clip of my work related to the Beatles and how we can change our world one small corner at a time.


Youtubes of the song:

Beatles record the song in 1967

Paul McCartney performs live in Brazil:

Scene from “Across the Universe” where Mr. Kite is featured


medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 36″X72″

Story: This painting depicts the early scene of London destroyed by the
war and references the opening scene of the Beatles LOVE Cirque du
Soleil show. It is dark but in a short time the Beatles music will burst
onto the scene bringing so much joy, excitement, colour and hope.

When I was a little boy, the pain of World War Two was very much in the
minds of my aunts and uncles and my parents.

I would listen for hours to their war stories. At the time I thought it
was exciting and heroic, but as the years went by, other wars filled the
news, and I began to wonder why people would kill each other. It wasn’t
until years later that I started to fit things together like a jigsaw
puzzle. I began to realize that there are always two sides to a story
and I felt betrayed by our governments, our history books and our news

I can cope with the realities of what I have learned, but only through
my art.

The best I can do is to try and create beauty in one corner of the world.
I hope it inspires others to do the same.


Youtubes of the song (this one is hard to find in the original):

Cover that sounds a lot like the original

Version from “Across the Universe”

Interesting Demo version from 1969

John Lennon explains how “Because” is related to Beethoven



Title: “Blackbird”
Medium:acrylic on canvas

Story: The lyrics to this song  are very beautiful to me. For example:
“Into the Light of the Dark Black Night”.   The combination of words
are so unexpected.

When I was a little boy, I would go for walks across the fields in
Scotland and delight in collecting big fistfuls  of black feathers. They
seemed so black and so perfectly designed in their beauty.

This song stirs deep past emotions and memories for me. I would walk for
miles with my two brothers and sister across the green hills, far from
our little stone cottage that sat in the middle of the fields. Sometimes
we would be racing the last light of the day to get home before darkness
settled in.


Youtubes of the song:

Rehearsal version from 1968

Paul McCartney Solo 2012 (with lyrics)

Woodwynn Peace Garden – changing one corner of our world at a time.

It has been quite some time since I stood inside the blackened interior of the Ameriyah bomb shelter in Baghdad, Iraq. It was a difficult time for me. Probably the most difficult time in my life.
People that I have spoken to have always said that they feel helpless to bring about change in our world. It seems that anything we can do is not going to make any difference. And where do you start?
I have always turned to my art because it works for me on so many levels and allows me to share my feelings with others.
For the past three years I have been working on creating the Woodwynn Peace Garden. It is a one acre site on a two hundred acre farm. Woodwynn farms is a therapeutic farm for the homeless and I thought it would be an excellent place to change one corner of our world at a time.
Over the three year period of planing and construction, It went from a tangled overgrown site to what I hope is a place of beauty.
The photo shows my daughter Amy playing her cello just as the sun rises on New Years day of 2016.
I can’t imagine a better joy than what we experienced as we heard the music rise with the sun.

You can watch a 3 minute video of Amy playing her cello in the Peace Garden

Cities about to change dramatically

I just read an interesting article in the New York Times by David Carr. It talks about the “Unease Over HoloLens in Screen-Obsessed Lives”.
I enjoyed his article very much. We are a strange species for sure! One does indeed wonder why we seem so obsessed with creating an artifical world when we have the richness of a real world.
One thing I would have liked to have seen the article explore further is the explosion of change that I feel is about to change our cities forever.
I believe that in a very short time, this technology will turn our concept of the city upside down. (The current trend is for cities to grow).
This new technology will eliminate commuter rush hour.
Think about how much resources we spend in order to support our current city design.
We build multi million dollar office towers that require heating, cooling, and maintenance for twenty four hours a day and yet we only use them seven hours a day.
People spend several “hours” a day driving into the cities to then sit at a computer screen. The gas bill for that is enormous not to mention the cost of the extra car, time wasted and the enormous polution.
We also build billion dollar rapid transit lines that are used for one quarter of the day.
Add the cost of expensive multi level, concrete overpasses and the large tolls for bridges.
The costs are (((enormous)))).
I believe that our business world is the largest change about to hit our lives with this new emerging technology… and yet I don’t see people talking about it.
Even the forward thinker like David Carr only mentioned the possibility of doing “conferences” with this new 3D technology. He talked mostly about the games potential.
Our whole world is rapidly going through a major paradigm shift with this new technology.
My biggest concern is that we seem oblivious to the change about to happen and we continue to build larger parking towers in our cities. Even our universities are building larger parking lots. (Can you imagine? Our best thinkers still cram hundreds of students in a room and don’t even allow recording of the lecture! (Talk about being out of touch with the future of education:)
I believe that people will move to cheaper, larger homes in smaller communities and spend more free time with their children in the real world. Right now they are living in stuffy shoe boxes in large cities with their faces jammed into the computer screen everywhere they go.
Businesses are already making changes. Large offices are downsizing and moving a large chunk of their staff to cheaper, smaller offices in smaller cities. The next logical step and the real winners will be the businesses that can cut the cord completely and interact with their employees using this new hologram technology. They will save billions when they find the courage to make this change and will then run circles around their competition. Our children will be the ones to make this step. They already have friends around the world and spend hours playing in the artificial game world.
I find it so funny to see our current business executives still stuck in the horse and buggy mode.

Municipality of Oak Bay, Piano Painted by Deryk Houston (June 2014)


I am excited about doing this project for the Oak Bay municipality. It was organized by Barbara Adams.
After sitting looking at the piano for some time, I decided to change my original idea. I thought the design would work better to frame the landscape with abstract lines and colour variations. I wanted to play with the idea of peace and my thoughts turned to John Lennon’s “Imagine.
I painted some music in thin lines across the landscape image section, but I made a mistake with the spacing of the notes and as I reworked that portion it occurred to me that it might be good to just leave out the musical notes, allowing people to fill in their own music for the space in their imagination.
As I worked, students from the school would stop and ask questions. At the start of the project I was repeatedly asked why I was painting a piano. They seemed mystified that anyone would paint a piano because pianos were meant to be black. brown or white. As the work progressed The students became quite excited about the colours and stopped asking why I was painting a piano. They seemed more interested in where it would go and if they could play it. Some students asked if I would place their names on it and so I did. They were so excited to see their names as part of the painted piano and they would bring their friends around and show them. More names were added by request. (I didn’t use their last names.)
I placed nuclear formulas across the surface. Some for nuclear war. Some for nuclear medicine. It is about choices.
The colours and the decorative look reminded me of the Beatles Rolls Royce and so I emphasized and worked with that in mind.
I like the idea of taking something that has an expected quality or image and then transforming that into something more fun and less establishment. Making it more unusual. Not unlike the idea of finding a piano in the street or in a landscape where one would not expect it.
I take my art seriously. I have introduced several ideas into this work. I am interested in war and peace. Communication is difficult and it can lead to conflict.
In the art world, there are those who like the abstract and those who like more traditional works such as landscapes. They often have a lack of respect for each other. One easily dismisses the other. I’m fascinated by that because, like most conflicts, the two sides often have many things in common than they might realize.
That is why I have combined landscape with the abstract in this work.
I think they can work together well and I enjoy both.


photo 2
I am starting painting on the piano this coming week. The idea was presented to me by Barbara Adams who is co ordinating this project for Oak Bay.
I will post photos of the progress as it develops over the next few days.
My idea is to focus on the new series of works I am doing on Canada’s west coast. I want to create an iconic impression of our special coastline. I find it a challenge because obviously every sunday painter will do this imagery. The challenge is to do it in a way that goes beyond the cliche and create something that nails the image in a way that everyone can relate to in a new way, while at the same time latching on to that iconic idea. I don’t want to do a scene of a particular place. The imagery is from my own space. It is simply the feel or the spirit of our coastline as I have experienced it over the past fifty years since I arrived from Scotland.
I believe that our coastline merits a good study because it is our part of the world with it’s own history and beauty. It would be easy to dismiss it as too local. But I like challenges and I enjoy doing things that the establishment in the “artistic community” might dismiss.
I’ll never forget hearing a comment made by someone from a Public  Art Gallery. They said something to the effect….”if I see one more painting of a flower I’ll scream”.
The comment stood out for me because I found it very narrow in thinking. I would never close my mind to an idea. One never knows where it could lead.
It takes courage to “risk” being boring.
I think artists should take risks. That is why I am focusing on our coastline right now.

Hamilton Child Care Centre Public Art Project

Birds, Bird Houses, fish, Cats, and nest like structures for Site 01
Emphasis on recycled and found objects, durability and fun.

Hamilton Child Care Centre Public Art Project (Richmond, BC, Canada)







Hamilton Child Care Centre Public Art Project


We are a father and son team and have created several large scale sculptures for public spaces in the past. We have a proven record of working with city staff and engineers and are registered with work safe BC and carry insurance. All our projects have been completed on time and on budget.


We would like to propose a combination of a 2D and 3D design for this project, providing a whole new range of possibilities of interaction with the visitors and the children.

Our design would feature a multiple series of Stainless Steel, whimsical birds, bird houses, fish and cats that would rest on one and a half inch, slightly wavy shaped, stainless steel poles attached to the outside fence.

These would rise up into the space “above” each fence areas. (Site 01 sections of fence.)

The artwork would be enjoyed from both sides of the fence which we feel presents a whole new dimension to the work.

Technically this would raise the height of the fence and so we would be applying for a variance  permit. We do not foresee a problem getting a variance on the fence height.


Each pole would have stainless steel branch like shapes and large spoons attached and other found objects to create a sense of leaves or stems and patterns against the wood fence.


The idea would be to provide a stimulating series of images that catch the eyes of both the young and the old. Each section of fence area would have a theme of either birds, birdhouses, fish, cats, and simple nest like, tangled structures.

An emphasis would be placed on using recycled stainless steel spoons, forks, bowls, nuts, bolts, chain,

musical instruments etc. Final designs of each would depend on available found objects.

There would be 26 structures in total.


The “Main sculptures” (13 pieces) would be comprised of either a bird, a birdhouse, a fish, or a cat.


The “Backdrop Filler sculptures” would be nest like , tangled structures. ( simple bundles of steel whimsical shapes). The backdrop filler sculptures would add high visual and artistic value to the overall design and yet be simple enough to allow us to provide a significant eye catching impact for a large area and yet still stay within the limited budget of ten thousand dollars.

These structures (birdhouses, etc) would be approximately two feet tall plus the height of the poles. Total height would be discussed with everyone.The artwork would be enjoyed from both sides of the fence which we feel gives a whole new dimension to the work.


The three smaller width fence areas would each have three “Main Sculptures” and three “backdrop filler sculptures”.

The single widest fence area would have four “Main Sculptures” and four “backdrop filler sculptures”.


Materials: Stainless steel, with large emphasis on found stainless steel objects, such as kettles, stainless steel water supply lines, copper lines, providing a permanent art installation with no maintenance required.


Each structure will have exaggerated shapes and visually effective textures to add visual interest, such as holes drilled into the surface, ribbons of steel for the contours to define shapes, the use of wavy panels, spoons, forks, found stainless steel objects, shredded stainless steel shavings from recycled lathe cuttings, acorn head bolts, screws, multiple layers of steel sheets etc etc.

All structures would be designed to be visually stimulating when viewed from either side of the fence.


Thank you for your time and consideration.


Deryk Houston and Samuel Houston

250 598 9908

Peace Sanctuary Sculpture Park first stage

We have been busy working on the first section of the tree section of our sculpture park.
The first task has been cutting down the blackberry bushes which have taken over a good corner of the .7 acres on Woodwynn Farms. I have had some wonderful help from young volunteers from Uvic and also from people working on the Farm as regulars. There is so much to do but by breaking the job down into sections it should be very manageable.
We have used the Canadian “Kickstarter” fundraiser program and this has proved to be a good way to raise funds for this project. I am so grateful to my friends who have stepped in to help by donating and we have exceeded our set goal which will allow us to do the job right.
Funding has always been an issue and in the past I have muddled along. I’ve always had help from friends and for that I am most grateful. People have given me support spiritually, emotionally, and in so many other ways.
I couldn’t do my work without you.
And so I keep plodding away, one step at a time. It is somewhat overwhelming if I look at all the area at once needing attention, but by breaking it down into sections, I find it very exciting and manageable.
I have a general overview plan but at the same time I am feeling my way carefully and keeping many options open. As I spend more time on the land, understanding certain view opportunities etc, it helps me plan for the next stage. I want to avoid having a preset plan and simply producing that. This is very much the same way I paint. I enjoy the process and being led by what happens as I work out the structure of a painting. But there is always the underlying plan that keeps things together and makes sure that one is not in a total free for all.
Anyway. I wanted to thank everyone who has helped us in this project and I hope I can do you all proud.
If you would like to help fund this project go to this link.

This “kicktstarter” fundraiser ends on Oct 16th but if you are reading this at a later date then e mail me at and I will explain what we are doing further and also accept your donation. If you wanted to do some landscaping work…raking, laying out paths, moving soil, etc then let me know that also. Thank you!

You can also find further info about the project at

Sowing the seeds of Peace

Sept 26th 2013
I am very grateful to Sarah Petrescu and the Times Colonist for taking the time to write about my project at Woodwynn Farms.
I totally agree with the Central Saanich councillor, Alicia Cormier, comments about making sure that good farmland is put to good use.
That is why my work on the farm supports that idea by making sure that every facet of this project is about the edible plants. The first and foremost thought has been focused on the idea that food will be the experience. The area chosen for the site has been an unused portion of the farm that is now going to be put to productive use by growing herbs,fruits and grains. I believe that people will see the interesting sculpture as the background scenery and serve as a draw to attract people who will enjoy the fruits of peoples labour.
I grew up on a farm and I was always dazzled by the art I saw forming before my eyes as a tractor cut the hay and left beautiful creative lines across the field.
The world famous Yorkshire sculpture park, set on farmland in England recognizes these beautiful relationships between life, people, art and farmland. I hope this work will do the same for everyone here in Central Saanich.

Anyone who wants to support our project might wish to log into “Kickstarter” at

Take care and thanks for everyones support.
Deryk Houston