Cole Denesowych finding artistic muse in sport heroes

Interest in art comes from all types of muse.

In the case of Cole Denesowych the whisper to start to paint came as he convalesced.

“Surgery was completed in September and I was on my lengthy road to recovery,” recalled the 23-year-old. “Getting bored with daytime TV and Xbox I decided to pick up the pencil again and start to doodle. One drawing led to another, it started to get my creativity and imagination flowing. I pulled out a canvas and started to paint a ‘Washington Redskin’ painting. That started it all.”

Not that the lifetime Yorkton resident didn’t have an existing artistic leaning.

“At a very young age I always had a pencil and paper in my hand, from sketching and doodling to building my own toys and props as a kid to fulfil my vast imagination,” said Denesowych. “As a young lad if I could imagine it I could create it. I started painting my favorite players on tiny canvas because I wanted some decorations for my room. Looking back I never would have thought my paintings in the future would turn out the way they are.”

Even after graduating from Sacred Heart High School in the city, art of a type was on his post-secondary journey.

“Film was my first ‘art’ love,” offered Denesowych. “I lived to watch action films and war time films such as ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and HBO’s series ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Pacific’.

“I chose to persue this love right after high school and decided to move to Vancouver in 2010 at 17 years of age. Boy was it a lot to take in coming from small city Yorkton to massive city Vancouver. I studied Digital Film and Video for two years, completing my diploma. I moved to Calgary after to work for a 3D animation company (Dynamic Vision) as an editor. After six-months of being a desk jockey I decided I wanted to work with my hands, which brought me back to my home town of which I missed the simplicity of life in a smaller city.”

But now he has a creative outlet again through canvases which he brings to life with brightly coloured stars of sport.

“All my works are sports related because I have a passion for almost every sport,” said Denesowych. “Growing up in Yorkton I had the opportunities to play hockey, baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, tae-kwon-doe and schools sport such as volleyball, basketball and golf. Hockey and baseball are my real passions. Ten-years ago I was checked into the boards on a late hit where I separated my left shoulder. For unknown reason I wasn’t able to get it surgically fixed till this past year in September 2014, nine-years after I received the body check.”

Denesowych said he is himself a sports fan, so that fires his art.

“I’m a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins and Edmonton Oilers,” he said. “I play hockey as a goaltender now in the rec league around town for a couple teams and was part of the Willowbrook Royals championship team this past summer of the SESBL.

“I have of course put some thought into a Terrier piece. If I can find a good photo of my buddy Taylor Thompson I’m sure he’d be thrilled to see that.

“And of course hometown hero Jarrett Stoll is also in the works. “

But does he have a favoured sport to paint?

“I have yet to experiment with baseball but I do have plans in the near future to tackle a (Toronto) Blue Jays piece,” said Denesowych.

“I think I enjoy painting hockey players the most, especially goaltenders, the art in the helmet and equipment mixed with the art of the position makes for some great paintings. I have tackled Martin Brodeur, Curtis Joseph and Ken Dryden.”

In time Denesowych expects his art to grow beyond sports too, but only if and when he tires of his current passion.

“I haven’t experimented doing non sport pieces, I’d like to stay with my roots and passion but if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you so I’m always looking for a new challenge,” he said.

When the mood strikes to paint, Denesowych said it is an immersive experience for him.

“To me they flow out quickly, I can get lost in a canvas for hours on end,” he explained.

“With a full time job during the day and hockey at night, I usually find myself only painting on the weekends. Depending on canvas size and detail, I’d say a painting averages about 18 man hours.”

Denesowych currently focuses on using acrylic paints.

“I haven’t experimented much with other mediums. That’s what my mother had in the house when I was young and experimenting,” he said. “Plus Yorkton doesn’t have much for art supplies, so I find myself using acrylic because they are the easiest to get my hands on.”

To help pay for his art supplies Denesowych is beginning to market his work.

“I have just recently taken commissions,” he said. “I recently did a painting of a receiver for the Canadian Women’s Tackle Football Team.

“I am currently working on a football piece for a surprise birthday gift.”

As for his own favourite works, not surprisingly given his current rec hockey focus, two of the three pieces feature netminders.

“My Curtis Joesph ‘CUJO’, Lanny McDonald ‘Out on Top’ and Ken Dryden ‘Iconic’ are all tied for my top pieces because of the challenge I presented myself with all of them, the detail and how the turned out exceeding all expectations felt phenomenal,” he said.

For more information check out or email: or call (306) 641-9903.

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