Beyond The UniformVeteran

Veteran uses art skills to give back 

Spending his life as a soldier and artist, Saskatchewan native and veteran Dale Dirks still enjoys creating art at every opportunity. 

Dirks discovered art at a very young age. 

By the time he was four, he was already creating art, and in school, he was soon outperforming his art teachers. In 1958, Dirks joined the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, before transferring to the Military Physical Education Branch, where he served with all three elements. 

During his military career, Dirks assisted in establishing an art society in Juan de Fuca, Victoria, BC, which was non-military. As well, he helped establish an art association at the military base in North Bay, ON. Dirks enjoyed his military career, calling it a good life.

In his retirement, Dirks has been able to focus on his art, though he still manages to give back to the community, including the military community. 

This philanthropic bent started fifteen years ago after his wife suffered from a medical episode. As a way of both helping his community and saying thank you for the help they received, Dirks began to donate his art to charities and fundraisers. 

“I had long look at myself, I was retired, and I said, well, maybe I can give back to some of these societies,” Dale Dirks


At first, it was medical organizations, but leaning on his military past, he started donating art to organizations that serve that help military personnel like Wounded Warriors. 

“I’ll give them my work because it’s just something that I would like to pay back to Canadians. And for us, we can make life in Canada just a little bit better,” said Dirks.

As a full-time painter, Dirks now specializes in landscapes and seascapes, though he has also done a lot of portrait work and wildlife paintings. 

Over the years, Dirks has played with different mediums before settling on acrylics and pen and ink. He had given oil paints a try, but he found the fumes from the oil paints and turpentine just a little too distracting.

Dirks also paints miniatures, which are paintings approximately one inch by one inch. However, to look at them, you would think they were full-scale paintings. 

In fact, at this point in his career, those are the only paintings you can purchase. They are also for sale in both Ontario as well as New York. 

Dirks says, “the rest of the stuff is absolutely free. I’ll donate to anybody and everybody who might want a piece of my artwork.”

Living true to his words, Dirks is always open to requests for art to be used in charitable campaigns. 

“If there are any groups out there that would like to receive my artwork free, and I want nothing in return, just let me know, and I would gladly do the work and send it to them. They can do with it what they would like,” said Dirks. 

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Deborah van der Linde

Deborah is a librarian who is passionate about books, storytelling, and writing. Thanks to her husband Adam’s military career, they have had the great fortune of living all across Canada. Deborah and Adam have two delightful children and a dog that thinks he’s one of the kids.

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