Bancroft Studio Tour


Working for a bank for thirty years may not seem like a good predictor of a future career in the arts, but Robert Pearson has beaten the odds. He is an ongoing participant in the Bancroft and Area Studio tour, has had a solo show at the Art Gallery of Bancroft (and volunteers for the institution), belongs to the local A Place For the Arts community artists association, has poetry and short stories in local writer anthologies, and has just published his own book of poetry titled ‘unfiltered’ (illustrated by local artist legend, Ken Balmer). And he plays guitar and sings at local open mike nights.

So, yeah, how did that all happen? Well, after growing up in Barrie and attaining his degree in environmental sciences and moving to Toronto, Pearson wasn’t able to land himself work in that area. And so started at the bottom of the totem pole at the Bank of Nova Scotia and worked his way up through junior and intermediate positions to his last sixteen years at the bank’s call centre. A wife and three girl children ensured he concentrated on that needed steady employment. However, he eventually became an art doodler making simple works with pencil and pastels that were the precursor of things to come.

Involving himself in practicing yoga—and then eventually learning to teach it—helped him transition beyond banking. And he included art lessons at an art store and training at the Toronto School of Art to up his art-making skills. And rented himself a studio where he produced various works of art including landscapes and portraits and showed his creations in the display area of the studio building in the Queen Street east area of the city in solo and group collaborations.

Visits to Bancroft convinced him he wanted to, eventually “live in the bush” and he started by purchasing an acre property on Baptiste Lake in 1997. And spent time in a “bunkie” there in the warmer weather before, eventually, designing and having a large-scale log cabin built. And when the pandemic hit and his yoga business died in T.O., he moved to this area permanently. And with all the art-making activities in which he became completely engaged in, he had a top-of-the-line studio built—that serves as his display area for his pastel and acrylic forest views and trees and stumps and still life works he puts on display.

At one point, Bob took a creative writing course at Loyalist College in town and began writing poetry and short stories. And joined the Northern Lights group of local writers and collaborated in anthologies with them.

He is presently producing new works of art that are targeted for the fall studio tour and will welcome you to his place at 810 Devenish Road on Baptiste Lake on the last two weekends of September. To connect with Bob, you can reach him at

(Profile writing and photo by Allan O’Marra)