RON: About

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I was born in 1954 in Cobourg, Ontario.  In 1958 my family moved to British Columbia where I attended school in West Vancouver and Chemainus.  I completed my secondary education in Calgary, Alberta and then attended the Alberta College of Art from 1973 – 75.  Following a move to Victoria, B.C. in 1975 I began my illustration career with work for a variety of advertising, editorial and government clients.  I have been a resident of Nova Scotia since 1997 and live in the beautiful Annapolis Valley with my partner Sandra.

In 1984 I won the Western Magazine Award for Illustration.  I illustrated my first children’s picture book, Waiting for the Whales, in 1991 and received three national awards including the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration.  I have since illustrated twelve children’s books and have become internationally renowned for my visual storytelling skills and range of illustration styles.  My children’s books have been published in nine countries and eight languages.

In 2005 my paintings for the children’s book, A Poppy Is to Remember, were selected to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Library and Archives Canada publication Read Up On It: A Wish For Peace.  My picture book, Roll On: Rick Hansen Wheels Around the World, was published by Greystone Books in the fall of 2012.  Written by Ainslie Manson, it tells the story of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion world tour.

FRANKENSTINK! Garbage Gone Bad  (Tundra Books 2015) is the first picture book I have illustrated and written.  Inspired by the monster movies and comic books of my youth, it is a fun monster-under-the-bed story as well as a cautionary tale about the need to compost and recycle.  In 2016 FRANKENSTINK! Garbage Gone Bad won the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration at the Atlantic Book Awards.

I have given drawing, painting and illustration presentations and workshops to children and adults across Canada from St. John’s to Victoria.  During the past thirty years my artwork has graced the covers of over sixty books and has been featured in magazines, calendars, posters and advertisements across North America. My client list includes the Province of Nova Scotia, the Town of Kentville, the Province of British Columbia, Aliant, The Walt Disney Company, CP Hotels and the Heritage Canada Foundation.  Several of my Waiting for the Whales illustrations were featured in the 1995 Twentieth Century Fox film Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog.  I have had numerous exhibitions of personal artwork and my drawings and paintings are included in private collections throughout North America.  My artwork has been recognized and exhibited by The Society of Illustrators in New York and is included in the permanent collections of Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books in Toronto and the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy in Toronto.

In 2016 I retired from the world of illustration and applied art to focus my creative direction on fine art.  (The term “fine art” refers to an art form practiced mainly for its aesthetic value and its beauty – “art for art’s sake” – rather than its functional value.  The term “applied art” refers to the application of artistic design to utilitarian objects in everyday use.)  My diverse fine art influences include the Impressionists, the Group of Seven, Edward Hopper and William Seltzer Rice.  I studied art history as a student at the Alberta College of Art and subsequently began to establish a career in fine arts with exhibits of my landscape paintings in Victoria, B.C. art galleries.  During this period I was asked to create a magazine cover illustration, and the positive response to this painting led to a career in applied art.  My commercial commissions left little time and opportunity for personal artwork, but after 35 years I felt it was time to return to my fine art studies.

I enjoy painting scenes from my garden, neighbourhood and other Nova Scotia locations.  I am interested in creating images that have a personal connection by interpreting the beauty of my local environment.

Reference

Canadian Who’s Who, University of Toronto Press 1994 – 2016

Read Up On It: A Wish For Peace, Library and Archives Canada, 2005

Applied Arts Magazine, Vol. 15, No. 3

Illustrators 41, Roto Vision SA, 1999

Illustrators 40, Roto Vision SA, 1998

The Best of Colored Pencil Two, Rockport Publishers, 1994 

The Best of Colored Pencil, Rockport Publishers, 1993 

The Very Best of Children’s Book Illustration, North Light, 1993

2 thoughts on “RON: About

  1. elmediat says:

    Saw some of your monster portraits featured on another blog.

    http://thestrangefarplaces.com/2013/07/27/art-ron-lightburn-classic-horror-portrait-series/comment-page-1/#comment-5

    Excellent work. Reminded me of the Famous Monsters Of Filmland Magazine Covers from my youth. 🙂

  2. You would probably enjoy my latest book, “Frankenstink! Garbage Gone Bad”. 🙂

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