Santa Barbara artist Fred Gowland, 73, passed away on Thursday, January 16 after a brief illness.
Fred not only painted unique and colorful canvases, he lived an artist’s life in his conversation, travels, or at his delightful home in Summerland. When you walked in the door you were not in a house, but part of a living, exuberant canvas.
Fred’s home was filled with indigenous art from his world travels, vibrant paintings, fabrics, birds hanging from ceilings, giant Balinese bunnies on the terrace, coral and shells and gifts from the sea. Some he painted, some were left intact the way nature intended them to be.
Fred loved nature and it was evident in all parts of his world and art. Even his car was filled with sand, old shells and bits of driftwood.
Fred traveled the world, both alone and with his longtime companion, the late artist Jack Baker. Fred would absorb the world, save it to his visual memory card and then return home and paint his version of it – thus sharing the world with others through his canvases.
Bali, India, New Guinea all appeared in brilliant tableaus that he created whimsically each day in his studio. He had a way of making the most mundane seem magical and the magical seem totally normal. It was a great gift and one he was willing to share with others. He mentored and encouraged young artists. This was part of his giving, engaging nature.
His last show was in Hong Kong and Singapore where they could not get enough of his imaginative, yet quasi- realistic images and vivid colors.
Fred was born and raised in Redlands, Calif. and moved to Santa Barbara in the mid-1970s. He called Carpinteria and Summerland his home until his passing.
Fred loved the walking on the beach, bringing home shells and rocks and debris the sea tosses up and deposits on the shore. He would take them home, paint them and turn them into mementos that he would then give to his friends.
Those of us who knew him have those colorful bits of his imagination to remember him. Fred Gowland will be greatly missed by many. At his request, no services will be held. Memorial contributions in Fred’s name may be made to a favorite charity.