Joe Enns is an Oil Painter and Fisheries Biologist based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As a painting style, Joe is attracted to, and strives to emulate impressionism based on real subjects and scenes. While mostly painting in-studio, he also works to improve his skills by plein air painting. Joe’s subject matter has ranged from portraits to still life to landscape; however, most of his pieces include a natural component especially streams, rivers and fish.

Outside of oil painting, Joe has enjoyed a productive career in natural resource management including work as a Fisheries Biologist, Hydroacoustic Technician, BC Parks Ranger, and other various positions. His work has taken him to many areas of British Columbia including Vancouver Island, Okanagan-Similkameen, Shuswap, Skagit Valley, Fraser Valley, as well as, many areas in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Working on salmon habitat monitoring and restoration in streams and rivers helps to fuel Joe’s interest in the aesthetic importance of these places that could be presented in oil paintings.

Joe’s interest in oil painting began early when he would visit with his great grandfather who painted in oil (and smoked cigars) in his painting studio. Joe took art classes in highschool for a number of years and was always excited when he got to work with oil paint. After highschool, he painted infrequently and usually with acrylic paints, but decided to get serious about oil painting in the early 2010’s.

Since dedicating more effort into oil painting and improving his craft, Joe has been fortunate enough to have been represented in a number of well-known galleries throughout the Okanagan including:

  • Front Street Gallery, Penticton, BC
  • Gallery 97 Artworks, Peachland, BC
  • Penticton Art Gallery, Penticton, BC

While his process for painting is constantly developing, Joe mainly paints with oil on canvas board. He makes his own canvas board by stretching canvas over birch panel. This allows for a firm surface to paint on that won’t warp over time. The paintings will often have many layers including a grisaille layer (black and white) to get the values right, with the colour applied in additional layers.

Many of the streams represented in Joe’s paintings have serious problems with habitat loss due to human encroachment and water extraction. The overall goal of his work is to connect people to rivers and streams and the fish that live in them by showing the beauty of these areas and highlighting the pressures they face. Hopefully, this effort can encourage us all to protect and restore the natural world around us.