Doris Chesley

(Thanks to Kelly Galbraith for the wonderful interview!)

Artist Statement

I have always had a strong interest in art and have been painting as a hobby intermittently since the 1970s. Instruction in art has provided me with the knowledge to progress in my work. My medium of choice is oils and each painting evolves over several weeks as I try to capture what I see and how I feel about it.

Many of my works are landscapes, and they are inspired by the beauty of our maritime surroundings. Often, they are scenes that are familiar and include a favourite spot to revisit, such as Rockwood Park. Even when I paint figures, I tend to paint them against a natural background.

My paintings are personal and generally have been shared only with family and close friends, and this is my first public exhibit. I would like to share my work with others at this point in my life.


Doris Chesley was born in Barneys River, Nova Scotia, and enjoyed drawing as a child. A cousin who taught art in Boston would bring Doris some art supplies when visiting in the summer and encouraged her work. After high school and university, she embarked on a nursing career in Montreal. This left little time for further exploring her artistic instincts.

Moving to Saint John in 1959 with her husband, Doris found a lively art scene and joined the Saint John Art Club. Although working and raising a family, she was able to attend night art classes at Saint John Vocational School. In the ensuing years she was fortunate to have instruction from well-known local artists including Rosamond Campbell, Fred Ross, Robert Percival and most recently Herzl Kashetsky. She also attended the occasional workshop at Sunbury Shores and elsewhere in the Maritimes.

Her work tends to be realistic and she enjoys working with oils as a medium. Her early focus included portraits and later moved to landscapes. Her paintings often portray a scene that is familiar to her and include many of her favorite spots to visit.

(Artworks are from the collection of the artist and family and are not for sale.)