Darren Umbsaar is a self-taught artist born and raised in Calgary, AB. Living close to the Canadian Rockies continually drives his passion for activities such as hiking, scrambling, skiing, painting, and landscape photography. His love of both photography and painting began in 2012 when he started going hiking and scrambling more frequently with family and friends. Most of Darren’s paintings are based on photos that he has taken while out on hikes in the Rockies. Initially, Darren painted his landscapes solely in acrylics, however in the past couple of years he has begun to incorporate oils into his repertoire.
Darren obtained an MSc. degree in Geology from the University of Calgary in June 2021, a discipline which has helped him both understand and paint the mountains with greater confidence. Many of his works tend to highlight the rugged, dynamic, and structural nature of the mountains by including subjects such as geologic layering, boulder-ridden slopes, charging streams, and weighty glaciers. In his work Darren strives to depict the mountains in all of their rawness and purity; painting them “as they are”—subject to the powerful, relentless forces of nature which have carved them into the shapes that we see today.
Darren is continuously developing his style and preferred methods of painting. Currently, his work can be described as an attempt to create a realistic impression of the landscape; his goal is for each piece to be tonally accurate, yet still retain a quality of liveliness and expressiveness through loose brushwork when examined up close. Darren loves the challenge of capturing tangible lighting and 3-dimensionality in his paintings. It is Darren’s hope that each painting will leave the viewer dreaming of exploring hidden corners of the mountains, and to admire the beauty in all things from the lowly valleys to the lofty peaks.