Terry Isaac with his work Tyger Tyger. A celebration of life took place at Red Rooster Winery on Sunday for Isaac, who died on July 16. (Western News file photo)

The Okanagan celebrates and says goodbye to beloved artist Terry Isaac

The renowned wildlife painter was remembered for his caring nature

By Brennan Phillips

Western News Staff

Close to 200 people came to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Terry Isaac on Sunday.

They gathered to remember not only the highly regarded painter, musician and teacher; but the kind and caring man who made friends across Canada and around the world.

Isaac unexpectedly died on July 16. His final piece of art, Looking Back, was finished the day before.

“Everybody that met him, he made them feel special,” said Kathleen Jagger, Isaac’s wife. “That was a very unique part of Terry, and one that I think we should all remember.”

Read More: Penticton wildlife artist named Ducks Unlimited Canada Artist of the Year

He may not have been born in the Okanagan, but Isaac was one of Penticton’s own. He not only kept his home and gallery here, but he also taught his craft here. The Red Rooster Winery, where the celebration of his life was held, was one place where Isaac passed on his knowledge and helped others to improve.

“It wasn’t unusual at shows to see artists come up to him and express that they were just awestruck,” said Angela Sauro Davis, Isaac’s art licensing agent. “The impact he has had on people, they are so grateful, so thankful, and he was just so humble. He would look at their work and spend lots of time, something he learned from (Robert) Bateman.”

Read More: Respected wildlife artist in Penticton dies

The wildlife painter was an avid supporter of nature organizations and local, such as the AlleyCats Alliance, and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Isaac was fierce proponent for the environment and protecting nature, the beauty of which he sought to highlight through his art. That passion was one shared with Robert Bateman, whose own art inspired Isaac, and who helped with pursuing a career in art. Bateman was unable to attend, but sent a letter to the celebration.

“It was such a pleasure to know Terry, from the moment we first met. He was a superb artist in a realistic style, and his ideas were creative and wide-ranging,” Bateman said in his letter.“It is certain that he will be greatly missed by anyone who knew him, and by those that know his work.”

While most well-known for his art, Isaac was a prolific musician as well. At the celebration, it was said that he preferred the minor keys, and that it was rare to hear him play a song that he hadn’t written. Above all else, he was known as a kind-hearted man who wished the best for the world.

“I love art. I love realistic art. I had Terry’s book long before I ever knew who he was. I had read it cover to cover, and it was one of my favourites. He was a wonderful guitarist, with a taste for minor keys, and we really hit it off,” said Russell Cutler, a student, musician and friend of Isaac’s. “But I think the greatest loss to the world, is not necessarily his artwork, or his musicianship. He was a unique individual when it came to people. When you spoke to him, when you were interacting with him, you had his undivided attention. You know, that’s a gift. That’s something you can aspire to, but is almost impossible to develop, it has to come naturally. Terry cared. When you talked to him, whether it was about paintings, whether it was about your hurt or your sorrow, he cared. He listened, he cared, and you could feel it. That’s the biggest loss.”

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