maritime paintings
nautical artists
Canadian Society of Marine Artists Nautical Artist

O.K. Schenk (1914-2002)


Born and educated in Nova Scotia, O.K. Schenk is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Post graduate study in London, England preceded three years experience in the creative department of a London advertising agency.

In 1939 he was commissioned in the R.N.V.R. and served at sea throughout World War II in the Royal Navy. Returning to Canada in 1946 he resumed his career in the graphic arts in Toronto where he joined the prominent advertising agency Cockfield, Brown. For some 20 of his 25 years with the agency he served as Executive Art Director. Leaving the agency field he joined the corporate design firm of Norman B. Hathaway Associates as Vice President, Creative Services. Prior to his retirement in 1980 he was Senior Design Consultant at Rous, Mann & Brigdens, Limited. During a career of over 35 years as a graphic designer he received many awards for advertising and corporate communications design in Canada.

He was a founding member and is a Past President of the Art Directors Club of Toronto, the first such professional group of its kind in Canada.

He is a Past President of the Canadian Save the Children Fund (now Save the Children Canada), a voluntary organization devoted to the welfare of under privileged children throughout the world.

He served for many years on the Board and is Past Vice President and Honorary Life Member of Toronto Brigantine, a sail training program for youth on the Great Lakes whose objectives are summarized in their slogan "Building character through adventure".

In 1967 he was a recipient of the Centennial Medal.

He has been an enthusiastic sailor all his life and for many years sailed his own boat from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club where he presently acts on the Archives Advisory Committee.

In spite of the demands of a strenuous professional life he always maintained a lively interest in the art of painting in watercolours whenever opportunity allowed. Now he devotes full time to his painting and, since 1980, has mounted five very successful exhibitions in Toronto. As well, he has participated in many group and juried shows and has executed a good number of private commissions, usually of a nautical theme. In 1984 he designed for Canada Post the commemorative stamp for the "Tall Ships" Rendezvous in Quebec.

O.K. Schenk is best known for his marine watercolours which he renders with an understanding and authority based upon long familiarity with the sea and the coastal environment. To this special interest has recently been added the appeal of Canada's vast and formidable northern landscape. Like the ocean it enshrines the same awesome qualities of elemental power coupled with a deep and enduring serenity.

He has received numerous awards for his paintings and his work hangs in many corporate and private collections.

He was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists in 1982, the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour in 1989 and the Canadian Society of Marine Artists in 1990. He is a member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.

He and his wife Thisbe lived in Toronto, prior to Mr Schenk's recent death.


artwork etching
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Last Updated on 12 March 2020
artwork oil and water
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