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.

2021 New Year with a new Series

I have been doing my art for over forty years now and I have created  many different types of art during that time. I enjoy the process of trying to find new ways to express myself. One of the most rewarding things has been working with my son Samuel on sculptures. He has the welding skills and we combine our thoughts and creative energy to form new sculptures every once in a while. I would be lost without Samuel. (Same goes for my daughter Amy and my wife Elizabeth.)

After my work in Iraq, I went through a very difficult period of my life. It has taken me over ten years to start  feeling better and regain my confidence on a personal level.

During the past ten years, I have volunteered and worked on Woodwynn Farms. I created a Peace Garden there with Elizabeth. It was a long and personal story, and so I won’t bore everyone with it here.

As the seasons changed on the farm and things grew and died back in the winter months, I watched the tangled growth and wildlife as it changed over time.

I am now working on what I hope will be an exciting new series of paintings that reflect on those years at Woodwynn. 

My goal is to keep them primitive and ancient looking. I also want to focus on the organic shapes and beauty of the stems, buds and seeds. In many ways nothing has changed, they just look visually different from past works. (Next to no colour is the main change after years of blasting out lot’s of colour.)

I hope you like what I am trying to achieve. I am going to try and set up a video as I work on some of these pieces so that people can get an idea of the process. Stay tuned.

PeaceGarden Skills Development Therapeutic Community

Over the years it has been heartbreaking to witness so many people struggling with addictions and living in poverty on our streets. It’s one of the reasons my wife and I were drawn to work and volunteer at the therapeutic community of Woodwynn Farms in central Saanich BC.

We spent over four years creating a Peace Garden and labyrinth filled with hundreds of edible plants and sculptures. We tried to create something that would be beautiful and also an inspiration to the participants in the program. We received a lot of joy  witnessing  the transformation as people gained confidence, hope and new skills to tackle their world. 

Elizabeth and I now want to open a facility in New Brunswick Canada. We want to emphasize the arts, broaden the opportunities for the participants and involve the local community as much as possible.

We have found an amazing lodge set on 86 acres with everything we could have dreamed of to house and provide for up to 48 participants. It has room for summer music camps, volunteers, workshops, a one hundred seat restaurant and industrial kitchen and a large building with an indoor swimming pool, which we would actually convert into a farmers market. It has everything the therapeutic community would need and also room for future expansion ideas.

The lodge costs $1.6 million dollars and we have had  a private funder step forward who has indicated that he would be interested in purchasing the lodge for our purpose. Our goal right now is to seek some government funding with the day to day operating costs, which are still substantial. We can save the provincial government $2.5 – $5million dollars +  over a six year period. Our business plan shows that we could become largely self sustaining after five years.

We have made great progress in getting this far, but everything depends on the government seizing the opportunity to save millions by committing support to help carry the  day to day expenses. Our model is largely based on the same model as the facility in San Patrignano in Italy, which has one of the highest success rates in the world for helping people with addictions and homelessness. 

We have presented the following proposal to the NB government.


The PeaceGarden Skills Development Therapeutic Community will operate as a charitable organization. We’d love to talk to you if you are interested in supporting this project. And we are looking for anyone who would like to volunteer (building, gardening, etc.) from time to time. (We would have a few extra cabins for volunteers.)

e mail us at 



Art Community and Therapeutic Farm in New Brunswick, Canada

Art Community and Farming becomes the Therapy.

We are looking for like-minded people to create an Artist retreat and therapeutic farming community for New Brunswick. Would you like to be involved?
Mahatma Gandhi said “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
We have spent over five years volunteering and building a peace garden at a therapeutic community, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The farm-based program we envision for beautiful New Brunswick would be designed to help homeless and addicted people rebuild their lives. It would be minimal or no cost to the participants who would work to the best of their capacity on farm chores on a daily basis in exchange for food, lodging and treatment. We have learned an incredible amount about how effective this model can be and we would love to connect with people who are interested in creating something like this in New Brunswick. The environment would be completely free of drugs and alcohol and would be non-denominational. (Funding costs would come from government agencies and donations.)
We would operate a farmers market, selling high value crops, specialty soap products, and furniture and crafts made by the participants.
We want to include an Artist’s Retreat as part of the program which would play a big part in shaping the experience, but also help fund the ongoing costs.(Exciting summer Music work shops etc.)

Like San Patrignano in Italy (our inspiration) we would want to see a program that created a positive pattern interruption for those who are working towards leaving an unhealthy lifestyle. Along with a home and a daily farming routine, participants would be offered legal and medical support, life skills, and vocational skills training. Each individual would be supported as a “whole person,” in order to develop confidence, a positive value system, and a career plan to maintain personal stability and gainful employment. An essential element of such a program is the interaction and development of community that is associated with the residential context of a farm.
We would be seeking government and private funding and we know there is a need for many different skill sets to launch the idea. We want to be a catalyst in a process that shares a vision that can truly help in the face of the homelessness and opioid crisis we are seeing across Canada in recent months.
Please contact us if you are interested. We are looking for anyone who would like to volunteer and help in different ways such as social workers, woodworking, electrician, farm market skills, chefs, accounting, legal help, grant applications, gardening, Arts etc. We will also be seeking donations. Anything will help.
Deryk Houston and Elizabeth Wellburn (250 598 9908 Victoria BC Canada)

Deryk Houston – The Mad Hatter

Thank you Art Works Gallery!

The “LOVE” opening reception and fund raiser on February 12th was
fantastic. It was fun to dress in costume for this very special event.
We were very fortunate to have the very talented “Tiny Islands” trio
with our daughter Amy Hall on cello, playing Beatles’ songs live. We
raised money for Creating Homefulness – Woodwynn Farms , Sole Food
Street Farms and the Save on Meats token program – all to benefit the
homeless. And the “LOVE” exhibition itself — it’s been a pleasure to
have the opportunity to share my paintings. See my other blog postings
for details of each painting exhibited in this show. If you missed the event,
you can still see the work at Art Works in Vancouver, BC until Mar. 6th.

Fund raising efforts are continuing until Mar. 6th as well. The gallery
is selling $5 raffle tickets for Rain a tribute to the Beatles on April
20th with dinner at Hamilton Street Grill. Thank you for your support in
helping us to change our small corner of the world by helping those that
need help the most.

Many thanks to those that helped: @YBIA, Hamilton Street Grill, Pan
Pacific, Genesis Publications Limited, Jonalyn Siemans of Designer’s
Guild, Brix, Hub, Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites, Pagliacci’s
restaurant, BC Ferries, RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles , Select Wines,
Czechrose Natural Therapy Massage Clinic & all the volunteers that
pitched in. THANK YOU! Love to all of you & have a Happy Valentines!

Deryk Houston - The Mad Hatter

Deryk Houston – The Mad Hatter

Imagine again


click on image to enlarge view

Title:Imagine Again

Size: 12″X36″

Price: $1,000.00

Story: Imagine, by John Lennon is an iconic song for me. Our world hasn’t learned how to make peace.

Our best leaders continue to try and bomb people into submission in the hope that we can own the whole pie. The idea of sharing is lost every time. There are lots of fancy words used. I am aware that he wasn’t perfect. But in his song “Imagine” ………….. he got it.   That’s what I like about John Lennon.

Here is the original, official version of the song on YouTube: 
Here are the lyrics:




click on image to make larger

Title:All you need is LOVE

Size: 12″X36″

Price: $1,000.00

Story: I’ve  mixed up the words from one line in the lyrics “Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung”. I liked how the Beatles often jumbled things up just to be silly.

All You Need is Love

Listen on Youtube

Lyrics are here:

Sgt Pepper


click on image for larger size

Title: Sgt. Pepper

Medium:Acrylic on canvas

Size: 12″X36″


Story: I was thinking uniform and buttons. I always liked the way Rembrandt painted the buttons on peoples jackets. At a distance they appeared shiny, polished and detailed looking buttons, but when you look at the brush strokes of the painting up close, the buttons are amazingly abstract.

Lyrics are here:

Paul McCartney performs Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band here:

Eleanor Rigby


click here to enlarge image

Title:Eleanor Rigby

Medium:Acrylic on canvas

Size: 24″X36″

Price: $2,000.00

We created a short 3 minute video of my daughter Amy playing cello in the Woodwynn Peace Garden.

You can watch it here

It was a very cold morning at sunrise and Amy played Eleanor Rigby on her cello. She was a good sport to stick it out for a couple of hours until we got the drone shots of her and of the site. I created the painting listening to Amy’s music in the studio. Samuel Houston’s sculpture is in the centre of the labyrinth where Amy is seated.

Youtubes of Eleanor Rigby

Remastered version

Paul McCartney performs it at the White House in 2010

Alice Cooper’s version of this song is on an album released in 2014

Lyrics for “Eleanor Rigby”



Here Comes the Sun


click image to enlarge:

Title:Here comes the sun

Medium:Acrylic on canvas

Size: 24″X36″


This is George Harrison’s song and apparently he composed it on a day he escaped from one of those  boring business meetings of the Beatles. It is a positive song but it also has a dark side. Or at least it does to me.

I can’t help thinking of the worries at the time of a nuclear war and the sun having another meaning. This is why I’ve also included the lines “Over and Over Again” up the side of the work in the black area.(Eve of Destruction: Barry McGuire )


Here Comes the Sun:


Feel the love in this version by George Harrison

Take a look at who’s with George in this version:








click on image to enlarge

Title: Imagine

inspired by John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

Exhibiton “LOVE”,  at Art Works Gallery in Vancouver, BC., Feb 12th, 2016

Story: This song hits the bullseye in every way for people around the world who believe in the idea of Peace. I feel it points to possible alternatives to creating a better world. Lennon didn’t always stick to the right path or say the right things. He made mistakes like all human beings do. But it is a start in the right direction and gives many of us hope that their are answers to some of the difficulties facing countries in conflict.

I had a lot of fun doing this large painting. The process is mostly something I have in my head after thinking about it for several days or even weeks. So when I am working on creating the peace garden at Woodwynn farms, moving wheelbarrows of soil etc., I’ll be thinking about the song and moving ideas around in my head. When I actually start the painting, I just go with my instincts and shove the paint around as my feelings direct me. I made a video of this painting as I worked on it and I will add it here by the end of January.(2016) The painting process might be interesting to artists who like to paint or people who collect my work.

Here is the original, official version of the song on YouTube:
Here are the lyrics:

You can watch a 3 minute video of my Peace Garden project and a bit of my painting process at