Probably no other painter (outside Van Gogh) influenced me more than William Kurelek. His simple paintings of children playing in snow, people on farms, village life left me with the feeling that art was about the simplest things and not the most grandiose. Kurelek’s world was a highly spiritual one. He went on to paint many religious motifs. Which as a young Roman Catholic I loved. It seemed like the real religion. Much of his work reminds one of Brueghel. And I have added one of those works by the Flemish painter for comparison. Kurelek was also a nationalist and I think much of his appeal was the burgeoning Canadian identity. I do not hold Kurelek in as much affection now that I am older. His work seems quaint. And that is a curse for any artist.
There is also a documentary here from the National Film Board on Kurelek.