Ron began painting as a career a little late in life. At age 35, he was inspired, after seeing an exhibition of original bird paintings by Fenwick Lansdowne, to try painting wildlife himself. His first effort was successful and he quit work at the lumberyard and began painting full time. Using watercolours, a medium with which he was familiar, he began doing vignetted paintings of birds and mammals. Within four months, he was selling originals through the Harrison Gallery in Vancouver, B.C.
As a young man, Ron had been a basketball player and the Canadian Decathlon champion in 1966. Using the discipline and perseverance learned in athletic training, he applied himself full time to improving his art. In 1982, after having moved to the East Kootenays near the Rocky Mountains with his wife Maureen, Mill Pond Press began publishing limited edition prints of his work. Over the next 15 years, Ron continued to produce wildlife paintings before branching out to landscape and portraiture. Eleven articles have been written about Ron's wildlife painting in national and international magazines and his paintings have been reproduced in three books: From the Wild published by Somerset, Voices from the Wild and Rocky Mountain Wildlife, both published by Raincoast books.
From 1981 until 2016, Ron has had 27 one man shows of his original paintings.
As a wildlife artist, the Beckett Gallery in Hamilton, Pacific Wildlife Gallery in Lafayette, and the Harrison Gallery in Vancouver each hosted several shows and Ron was also invited to participate in Birds in Art shows at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. In addition, Ron was commissioned in 1993 by the Royal Canadian Mint to do a collectors set of four coins depicting the Sea Otter and in 1994, he was the featured artist for the Vancouver International Wildlife Art Show.
From 1997 to 2003, Ron did figurative paintings as well as commissioned portraits and has also done a number of figurative works. He found this new direction both stimulating and challenging and became a senior member of the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists. Ron's one-man shows in April, 2000 and in March, 2002 were called In Praise of Women and included sculpture, drawings, portrait paintings and figures. International Artist Magazine included an eight page feature article on Ron’s figurative work in their Issue No. 22, Dec., 2001/Jan., 2002. His last wildlife show was in October 2003 at the Goward House in Victoria.
Between 2003 and 2013 Ron painted contemporary landscapes in an essentialist style. They represented a marked change from the detailed, representational paintings he has been known for. They were designed from an abstract view and concentrated on form, rhythm and colour with little detail. His five one man shows at the Avenue Gallery in Victoria, were very successful. These essentialist paintings were also sold through the Plaza Gallery in Whistler, Peninsula Gallery in Sydney and the Webster Gallery in Calgary.
In 2013 Ron again changed his painting style when he began using oils on canvas as his medium. Back to a representational style, he started using varied lighting more in his paintings and using oils enabled him to paint subjects like clouds and water reflections more easily. Switching from the acrylic medium to oils has also increased his painting output considerably. Ron is represented by Koyman Galleries in Ottawa.
Ron and his family now live in Victoria, after having lived in Comox on Vancouver Island and in Kimberley in British Columbia's Kootenay Valley. Even though he paints scenes from all of the western areas of Canada and the United States, the British Columbia coastline on Vancouver Island provides most of the inspiration for his paintings. All of Ron's oil paintings can be viewed online at www.ronparkerart.com.