Lucas Kratochwil in his studio walking towards a wall of his paintings

Painting peaks with Vancouver artist Lucas Kratochwil

In Squamish Things To Do by Vicky Farrand

You know that feeling you get when you come face-to-face with one of Mother Nature’s many exquisite miracles – the ones that defy belief? It’s a feeling is difficult to describe. That moment your heart beats a little faster, your eyes fill with awe and it feels like your heart is quite literally smiling.

It is such an overpowering feeling that the experience itself is quite often more than we or any of our guests could dream, and one we assumed could only be experienced in the moment. That was until we discovered Vancouver-based landscape artist and realist painter, Lucas Kratochwil. His incredible depictions of some of our favourite landmarks will pull you right back into those up-close moments in BC’s majestic mountainscapes.

Lucas Kratochwil painting in his Vancouver studio
Painting of Alpha Mountain by Lucas Kratochwil

About the artist: Lucas Kratochwil

Having grown up surrounded by the Andes mountains, Patagonian lakes and ancient native forests of Argentina where he was born, it is no wonder Lucas has such a keen eye for striking landscapes. Yet both nature and nurture played a role in becoming the artist he is today, Lucas is a third generation Austrian painter following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather.

Creativity is family matter

His grandfather, Franz Kratochwil, was a gifted landscape and portrait painter as well as a carpenter who hand-built the family ranch where Lucas grew up. Lucas’ father, Robert Kratochwil, is a great figure drawing artist and landscape photographer. With roots planted firmly in natural living and creating with their own two hands, the family would work the land together and then practise their artistry.

At 19, Lucas pursued a degree in Industrial Design at the prestigious FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences in Graz, Austria, where his passion for design and technical thinking continued to flourish. Lucas then moved to Vienna where he used his talents as a painter, sculptor and designer in the design and creation of numerous sets and props for movies and television shows.

With a wealth of experience under his belt, Lucas has explored a range of different mediums, styles and themes including watercolors, acrylics, oils, drawings, sculpture, abstractions, surrealism, fantasy and realism. In addition, he has created custom furniture pieces, done book illustrations, and still works as a product and furniture designer for prestigious brands in North America and Europe.

Now living in Vancouver, Canada, his large scale paintings of the Pacific Northwest began showing in the Fairmont’s Mountain Galleries, Canada, in 2018.  

A man after our own heart, his artwork is helping to raise awareness of the essential connection between humankind and nature and the responsibility that we all have to protect it and ensure it is here for future generations to enjoy. In removing any trace of the human impact we know of today in his paintings, Lucas is paying homage to the natural and untouched beauty of these popular sights.

The process

In Lucas’s work the canvas, the usual stage for an image, fades away. Leaving you feeling as though you’re looking through a window. The mountains, forests and lakes take on life before your eyes. In fact, Lucas himself has said that he tries to create paintings that evoke ‘the feelings and sensations of looking at nature directly’. So, how does he do it?

Lucas garners inspiration from being surrounded by the very thing he is painting. For each new commission, Lucas will take his clients on a special custom sightseeing flight to photograph the landscapes and imagery that hold a personal connection with the recipients of his paintings – and we’re thrilled to be able to be part of this process!

This, combined with Lucas’ incredible talent results in phenomenally accurate depictions of the landscape before him taking form on the canvas.

As well as immersing himself in nature, Lucas spends a lot of time in his studio creating these masterpieces. As they say, “it’s in the details”. Countless brush strokes are applied to canvas as Lucas adds layers of colour and detail that so perfectly mimic the ridges, unique markings, reflections and shades of these natural beauties.

A few of our favourite Lucas Kratochwil paintings

On his website, you can watch a selection of mesmerizing time-lapse videos of Lucas at work adding these exquisite touches to his creations. You’ll be wowed at how brilliantly he transforms a piece of canvas into an exact replica of our most treasured natural formations.

  1. The Black Tusk

The time-lapse video of this painting is fascinating to watch, even simply to see the way Lucas creates the moodiness of the sky. We are so enamoured by this piece and its definition of the ridges and the shadows, the detail down to the scattering of trees, and of course the majestic tusk.

  1. Garibaldi Reflection

Garibaldi Lake is a natural gem that lies within Garibaldi Provincial Park and a sight that we get a kick out of soaring above every single time. One of the reasons it is such a sought after attraction is the magnificent mirror image that is cast of the mountains on the lake’s waters. Lucas has replicated this perfectly and we would completely understand if you found you couldn’t stop staring longingly at every detail – we couldn’t either!

  1. Alpha Mountain

The Tantalus Range is one of the highlights for any drive along the Sea To Sky Highway. Its striking beauty catches the eye of even the most frequent traveller along this stretch of road. This jagged peak is one of the most prominent of the range. We are so awestruck by the way Lucas’ brush strokes perfectly recreate the way the sun’s rays are highlighted on the slope of the mountain and similarly the casting of shadows.

Commission a piece and get more than a painting

The connection between people and the natural wonders that Lucas paints is a matter close to his heart. So much so that, when you commission an exclusive painting, not only will you own an exquisite piece of art you will also get the experience of a lifetime.

Lucas Kratochwil photographing the inspiration for his nest painting on a flight with Sea To Sky Air

Lucas offers a complimentary flight tour with his clients to explore the landscapes up close and develop a lasting connection with the painting and with nature.

The idea that it is possible to both experience the joy we see on our guest’s faces on every tour we take, and to capture the feeling in an everlasting keepsake, truly makes us smile from ear to ear.

https://www.lucaskratochwil.com/