Apr 5, 1931 – Feb 4, 2006
Neil Boyle, originally from Fort Macleod in Alberta and lately a resident of Courtenay, British Columbia, died Saturday of complications resulting from esophageal cancer. He was 74 years old.
Neil left Canada to attend art school in Southern California and stayed since his career as a commercial illustrator bloomed there. After 25 years he segued into fine art – an “illustration with a frame around it,” he would say. After another 25 years or so, his desire to return to his roots became a possibility. He came home, almost… Vancouver Island offers a more hospitable climate than southern Alberta.
Boyle is an internationally known fine artist whose work is represented in many Canadian and United States galleries. He undertook his initial training at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta, and began his career in Los Angeles, California after graduating from Chouinard Art Institute and Art Center School of Design there in the early 1950s. ABC Television, Disney Studios, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, Mattel, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, Readers’ Digest, Capitol Records, RCA, and the Rand Corporation are a few of the companies that have commissioned his illustrations.
In 1976, the United States Postal Service chose Boyle to illustrate a series called “ Contributors to the Cause”— four postage stamps commemorating the US Bicentennial. In addition, more than 30 of Boyle’s paintings depicting contemporary events in US military history have been added to the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Neil’s success as an illustrator led him back to Chouinard and Art Center as an instructor, as well as to the California State University, where he was an associate professor at its Long Beach and Northridge campuses. He taught for fifteen years at the private California Art Institute in Westlake Village, was a sought-after addition to regional art workshops, and published a series of instructional videos.
He has received awards of excellence from the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles, and from the Los Angeles Art Directors Club. Before taking leave of commercial illustration to concentrate on producing works of fine art, he was chosen as recipient of the LA Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
Boyle is a signature member in the Oil Painters of America, while still living in California he became a senior member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. His work is known for its impressionistic style and vibrant color.
Since coming to the Valley he enjoyed being a part of this thriving art community. Life was good until cancer claimed him. His wife, Betty, his daughter Kay Jackson of Washington state, son Lee Boyle of Southern California, and sister Maryvonne Dunne of Vancouver survive Neil. Friends know him to be a good, kind man and something of an artistic genius. All who have known him will sorely miss him.
A Funeral Mass will be held 11:00 am, Saturday, February 11th at Christ the King Parish in Courtenay with Father Paul Murphy, celebrant. Arrangements entrusted to Comox Valley Funeral Home & Crematorium, 1101 Ryan Road. Remembrances of Neil to the Cancer Society, 102 – 1509 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay, BC V9N 2K6, would be appreciated. They do good work.