Dr. Flather was a highly talented man who combined his love of the outdoors with his love of art to produce many wonderful works. Over his lifetime, he produced in excess of 400 paintings, which extensively covered Canadian landscapes from coast to coast, as well as plants and animals. Although a teacher by vocation, he dedicated a great deal of his life (circa 1919-1990) to his painting and developed his own unique style which combines elements of French Impressionism and the Group of Seven.
Dr. Flather was a colleague of Lawren Harris, founder of the Group of Seven and the two men worked together for several years on the executive of the Federation of Canadian Artists (click here to go to their site), of which Dr. Flather was an original and founding member. From 1938, Dr. Flather exhibited many times with the B.C.Federation of Artists (of which he was Secretary of in the 40’s and 50’s) in Vancouver, and even displayed paintings at The Art Gallery of Toronto (March, 1950). Following this, he also acted as National Treasurer of The Federation of Canadian Artists. He was a very modest man, and did not devote much time or effort to showing his art, rather he preferred to circulate it amongst friends and Family.
After growing up in the Shuswap Lake region, Donald M. Flather came to Vancouver in his twenties, at which time he began to paint more in his free time. He graduated from U.B.C. with his B.A. and M.A.. He took teacher training and began teaching at Templeton, and taught at Britannia and King George High Schools. At King George he was Vice Principal, and he organized the Vancouver Night School for several years at King Edward Campus. Dr. Flather’s Ph.D. in Education was conferred at the University of Washington in 1950. He and his lovely wife Grace raised a family of three boys, Elwood, Barrie and Verne- all of whom went on to become medical doctors, raising families of their own.
Dr. Flather’s works show a wonderful combining of his roles of teacher, botanist, biologist, scientist and painter, and successfully integrate his knowledge with his art. One of his greatest wishes was that others be able to view and enjoy through his paintings the world as he saw it- full of beauty. His paintings are now widely held in collections in Canada, Asia, Indonesia, the USA and Britain.