Friends of the Whyte: Bev and Harman Delyea
By Bev and Harman Delyea, Whyte Museum Members
Our favourite way to connect with nature is hiking where we can stop to see vistas of lakes, woods, and wildflowers. Sitting still and observing nature can be very contemplative and put us in creative states of mind. We are a husband and wife team of artists who have travelled the Canadian Rocky Mountains together for over 50 years. Our first hike in the Bow Valley was to Lake Agnes on our honeymoon in 1969, and we have returned to the area many times. We both became artists after retirement, and as we became more familiar with Catharine and Peter Whyte, we wanted to go to the same locations they went to. With their inspiration, we hiked, sketched, and studied how they interpreted scenes and the colours they used. Back at home, we created our artwork.
On the trail, we enjoy the people we talk to—occasionally a solo hiker joins us or we join others on a break. We find similar interests and share enjoyment of where we are. People we meet are happy being on a trail in nature and hiking in fresh air in spectacular settings. There is a trail up nearly every mountain and around every corner on which to be in nature and have artistic inspiration. On the trail or sitting on a bench in town, we think of these as meeting places: most people, like us, do not live in Banff, but love that we can visit any time of year and connect with the land as well as other people. Like us, they want to be here. The Bow Valley environment is inspiring and supportive, and attracts many who are experts in their fields, including visual arts. Visiting the Bow Valley and attending exhibitions and events at the Whyte Museum, we have come to appreciate the opportunities that Catharine envisaged.
At times, we visit the Museum Shop for souvenirs for our family. And, when possible, we enjoy a tour of Catharine and Peter’s home next door — seeing their belongings and art has a profound effect on us because they did what we like to do.
As the museum moves into the 21st century, supporters all have personal reasons to seek out and enjoy connecting to nature on the trails and discovering the enrichment of history, visual art, and conversations. For us, this yields artistic inspiration; we never know what new art might spring from a stay in the Bow Valley and a visit to the Whyte Museum. Exhibitions in the museum stay with us for many years. We always relish seeing original works by Catharine and Peter Whyte whenever we can, plus other Canadian painters. We’ve also enjoyed themed exhibitions such as Yellowstone to Yukon: The Journey of Wildlife Art (2011) and Out of the Wildfire (2004), as well as many others.
From a personal point of view, we have six grandchildren to whom we hope to bestow knowledge of the arts, a deep appreciation of the history of places that were important to us, and of course, opportunities to immerse themselves in pure nature as we have been privileged to do.
Image 1 - [Lunch on the rocks, trail to Stanley Glacier], 2017, Personal Collection of Harman and Bev Delyea, Fernie.
Image 2 – Delyea, Bev, Salmon Sunset, stained glass mosaic (stained glass on plywood, grouted), 2009 (Fernie).
Image 3 – Delyea, Harman, Moiraine Lake, acrylic paint on canvas, 2016, (Fernie).