1895 - 1967
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Roland Gissing was born in England in 1895. He was the son of an author and studied at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, Scotland. His love of American cowboy movies influenced his move to Canada in 1913, where became a painter of Canadian mountains and foothills. For ten years, he worked as a ranch hand in Alberta, Montana, Nebraska, and Arizona.
In Calgary, painter C.W. Jefferys recognized Gissing’s talent and provided encouragement. Gissing settled near Cochrane at the fork of the Ghost and Bow Rivers. In 1929, he had his first one-man show, which was highly successful, although he had had little formal instruction.
A studio fire in 1944 destroyed Gissing’s oil paintings, so he turned to watercolor in the style of the English school, painting in clear, soft tones. His main subjects were scenes of sunlit mountains and rivers, which were reproduced on calendars and cards. He would often backpack into the wilderness for weeks to capture his subjects.