Top News

LeDrew starts with photographs and an idea


LOUISBOURG — For digital artist Gary LeDrew a masterpiece starts with a photograph – or sometimes three photographs – and an idea.

“I get something I like and then I’ll start changing it,” he said.

“ I’ll take out the sky and put in another one to better suit the picture.

“’I’m an expert with Photoshop, there’s nothing I can’t do with it.”

LeDrew, 71,   was selected by Nova Scotia Heritage Trust as the feature artist in their next issue of Griffin Magazine, due out in January.

LeDrew agreed it was exciting.

“I’m doing the cover, there will be others pictures and a story inside. They only have four issues a year so to get selected by them is really good.”

LeDrew’s father, Harold, grew up in Little Lorraine and his mother, Celia, in Louisbourg. He said  during the war, his father had to go to Montreal, where he was born. His parents then moved back to Louisbourg.

“We lived in the Louisbourg lighthouse for three years.”

His  family then moved back to Uxbridge Ontario, when he was raised and lived until moving back to Cape Breton 10 years ago.

Art was always a big part of his life. LeDrew started drawing when he was only about four.

“In my high school paper I was called, ‘The Mad Artist.’

“At that time in Uxbridge, boys took agriculture and girls took art. I was the first boy to ever take art.”

His  parents were also artists, which he agrees was a big influence.

“Art was always very important in our house, no question about it.”

Growing up, LeDrew remembers "wanting to be everything."

"I dropped out of high school and was in the navy for three years and then I worked as a shepherd for a while."

 He has worked in movies and the entertainment business, managed a New Orleans jazz band and ran a well-known after-hours club.

"I’ve lived one of those lives.  I’ve done everything. I was Toronto’s leading bootlegger for five years and had everyone there from the Rolling Stones to a New Brunswick premier. It was for musicians so everyone went there. I wasn’t famous, but I was infamous.”

LeDrew was also a well-known artist throughout the years. Eventually, his interest turned to digital art.

“I spent such a long time working on how to do that, I actually became a computer expert and ended up working in the computer industry for 10 years.”

About 15  years ago LeDrew gave up painting and has focused on digital art.

 “It's  unique, no one does it the way I do.”

LeDrew photographs are cut into different pieces, then blended together.

“It’s different skies, different land, different objects. I work on each one individually then turn it into a painting. I make probably as many as 10 or 12 layers and work with different layers of transparency to get those effects.”

I do have some transfer to canvas and if I’m working on canvas, will do some acrylic to enhance them. I also do my prints on watercolor paper.”

LeDrew said when first holding digital art shows in Toronto, it was hard to get people to understand what digital art was all about.

“If you go to all the banks and doctors' offices – my paintings are hanging everywhere.”

“Everyone loves them that sees them' — are usually wowed by them.”

LeDrew said the time factor can never be determined for each piece.

“You can’t ever tell through art. Some just go 'bing’ and you have it done and others I can’t leave them alone and am forever changing them.”

LeDrew has had several art shows including at AbbassStudios on Townsend Street and at the Louisbourg branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Although he considers Louisbourg his home, he is currently living in Sydney where he has a studio at 235 Alexandra St. Apt. 17.

“I have at least 50 paintings hanging on the wall.”

LeDrew’s work can be seen at Ed's Books on Charlotte St., Sydney and on the website www.capebretonart.com

He has his own website www.garyledrew.com and can be reached through email at garyledrew@gmail.com

“I get something I like and then I’ll start changing it,” he said.

“ I’ll take out the sky and put in another one to better suit the picture.

“’I’m an expert with Photoshop, there’s nothing I can’t do with it.”

LeDrew, 71,   was selected by Nova Scotia Heritage Trust as the feature artist in their next issue of Griffin Magazine, due out in January.

LeDrew agreed it was exciting.

“I’m doing the cover, there will be others pictures and a story inside. They only have four issues a year so to get selected by them is really good.”

LeDrew’s father, Harold, grew up in Little Lorraine and his mother, Celia, in Louisbourg. He said  during the war, his father had to go to Montreal, where he was born. His parents then moved back to Louisbourg.

“We lived in the Louisbourg lighthouse for three years.”

His  family then moved back to Uxbridge Ontario, when he was raised and lived until moving back to Cape Breton 10 years ago.

Art was always a big part of his life. LeDrew started drawing when he was only about four.

“In my high school paper I was called, ‘The Mad Artist.’

“At that time in Uxbridge, boys took agriculture and girls took art. I was the first boy to ever take art.”

His  parents were also artists, which he agrees was a big influence.

“Art was always very important in our house, no question about it.”

Growing up, LeDrew remembers "wanting to be everything."

"I dropped out of high school and was in the navy for three years and then I worked as a shepherd for a while."

 He has worked in movies and the entertainment business, managed a New Orleans jazz band and ran a well-known after-hours club.

"I’ve lived one of those lives.  I’ve done everything. I was Toronto’s leading bootlegger for five years and had everyone there from the Rolling Stones to a New Brunswick premier. It was for musicians so everyone went there. I wasn’t famous, but I was infamous.”

LeDrew was also a well-known artist throughout the years. Eventually, his interest turned to digital art.

“I spent such a long time working on how to do that, I actually became a computer expert and ended up working in the computer industry for 10 years.”

About 15  years ago LeDrew gave up painting and has focused on digital art.

 “It's  unique, no one does it the way I do.”

LeDrew photographs are cut into different pieces, then blended together.

“It’s different skies, different land, different objects. I work on each one individually then turn it into a painting. I make probably as many as 10 or 12 layers and work with different layers of transparency to get those effects.”

I do have some transfer to canvas and if I’m working on canvas, will do some acrylic to enhance them. I also do my prints on watercolor paper.”

LeDrew said when first holding digital art shows in Toronto, it was hard to get people to understand what digital art was all about.

“If you go to all the banks and doctors' offices – my paintings are hanging everywhere.”

“Everyone loves them that sees them' — are usually wowed by them.”

LeDrew said the time factor can never be determined for each piece.

“You can’t ever tell through art. Some just go 'bing’ and you have it done and others I can’t leave them alone and am forever changing them.”

LeDrew has had several art shows including at AbbassStudios on Townsend Street and at the Louisbourg branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Although he considers Louisbourg his home, he is currently living in Sydney where he has a studio at 235 Alexandra St. Apt. 17.

“I have at least 50 paintings hanging on the wall.”

LeDrew’s work can be seen at Ed's Books on Charlotte St., Sydney and on the website www.capebretonart.com

He has his own website www.garyledrew.com and can be reached through email at garyledrew@gmail.com

Recent Stories