About Len Gibbs


Len Gibbs 1929 -2010

Len was a self-taught Canadian artist. Working mostly in acrylic paints he was well known for his super-realism style and was considered one of the most important artists of his generation.

Born in Cranbrook, BC., he later lived in Brandon, Calgary and Edmonton and finally settled in Victoria, BC.  He was always adventurous and earned his pilot’s license when he was only 16. As soon as he graduated from high school he joined the navy and served on several ships including the Royal Navy submarine HMS Tallyho. 

After leaving the navy he went into advertising and was the creative director for a major advertising agency in Edmonton, Alberta. He left the business world in 1968 to devote his time to painting. In November 1968, Len Gibbs had his first solo exhibition at the Alex Fraser Gallery in Vancouver that sold out on the first day. He later moved to Victoria, BC with his family where he spent the rest of his life.

He had sell-out shows in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Seattle and London, England. Edmonton art collectors waited in long line-ups at all of his exhibitions and in particular, a crowd of 200 lined-up at the West End Gallery in 1981.

Len was a master of painting in acrylic medium. He also created watercolour paintings and dry brush on paper as well as drawings. He had an ability paint fine art with impeccable detail and was known for his paintings of children, cowboys and marine subjects.

His paintings were developed initially with sketches and preliminary watercolours to establish the composition. He then created the paintings slowly, with thin brush strokes and layers of coloured glazes to bring out texture and hues. Most of the scenes in his paintings emphasized the human form, where he especially wanted to create mood and emotion. 

He had many other interests which he pursued enthusiastically, including building and flying his own airplane, building a model railroad, building or restoring and driving several classic sports cars and building and sailing his model boats at the Harrison Yacht Pond in Victoria.  Len helped establish and was one of the original artists at "Painters at Painter’s", an annual event which was held at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, BC from 1994 to approximately 2014. The event drew visitors who could watch artists' demonstrations and participate in discussions. 

In 1983, Len was named an Honorary Artist in recognition of his contribution to the visual arts in Alberta and was made an Honorary Citizen of Victoria, B.C. in 1985.


During his career as a professional artist, Len Gibbs had many art exhibitions, including the following:

  • 1987-2010 West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta and Victoria, British Columbia
  • 1984, 85, 87 - Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, London, England
  • 1983, 85, 87 - Canadian Society of Marine Artists, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia
  • 1984, 86, 87, 88 - Hollander York Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1983 - Alberta Museum, "Human Heritage"
  • 1981 - Prairie Art Gallery, Grand Prairie, Alberta
  • 1981 - Beijing, Sichuan and Shanghai, Travelling Group Show
  • 1980 - Province of British Columbia, European Travelling Show
  • 1979,80 - Artist's Choice Show, Roberts Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1976, 1981, 83, 85, 88 - West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1979 - "Preview '79" Dallas, Texas
  • 1978 - Peter Whyte Gallery, Banff, Alberta
  • 1977 - University of Calgary, "Print and Drawing Council of Canada"
  • 1976 - Bradley Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
  • 1975 - Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, "Acute Images of Canada"
  • 1974 - Galerie Royale, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 1973 - Galery Internationale, Ribe, Denmark
  • Prior to 1973 Len Gibbs exhibited in Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa