Although Doug Levitt always wanted to be an artist, he never pursued it through most of his life, even though he drew avidly as a kid. “Something about it just intimidated me I guess and even though it gnawed at me, I always just put it off”, he says. Almost dying in an accident in 2001 changed his mind and focus however, and armed with a fresh load of art supplies he decided to conquer the demon. Surprised by the strong positive reaction from friends and family and with time on his hands recovering from the accident and subsequent surgeries, he decided to start attending art shows and sales.
“I’ve been painting full time ever since. I’ll paint anything that interests me or offers me growth as an artist, including portraits, still life and plein air landscapes, but my main focus is western art – particularly Native/First Nation culture, inspired by dream images I kept having early in my career. The images were so clear I just closed my eyes and ‘saw’ the image and then painted it – and I never remember my dreams as a rule – so that struck me as a special thing’. Doug began approaching First Nations people for answers to his inspirational dreams and quickly found both models and friends within that community who began to teach him more about their culture in an effort to aid him in depicting the images with a deeper correctness and respect than would otherwise have been possible. He has been very embraced by the culture and has received many gifts – including feathers and various artifacts, most notably a turtle shell medicine pouch.
In 2008, Doug was commissioned to paint the image used for the 2008 Calgary Stampede poster which promoted the Stampede world-wide. The painting was sold for $63,000 and was purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company. Doug has also won Artist Choice (2), Collectors Choice (2) and Best of Show booth at Stampede. In 2013, he was honoured with the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award.