W.P. Weston was born in London, England in 1879. He arrived in Vancouver with his wife Jessie, in 1909, just two months after the birth of their first daughter, Bette. He had been teaching and working as an illustrator in London, after studying at the Putney School of Art. Looking for a change, Weston applied and was hired as an art teacher at King Edward School in Vancouver.(10)
The seed of the city's present-day cultural life had only just been planted; the art gallery and arts school had not yet been built. The rugged coast more than made up for it.(11) His artist's eye was captivated by the wildness of the landscape.
"I was seeing all kinds of new forms that I hadn't seen in arrangements, and they intrigued me. I didn't want to paint any of the old civilized landscape; I'd been brought up on it. I wanted to see the wild things, the mountains, the trees."(12)
It took almost 15 years before Weston was able to depart from the restrictions of painting in the British aesthetic. He was occupied with his young family and his teaching career, and did not immediately begin painting his surroundings.(13)
He eventually began a period of experimentation and change that stretched over a decade.(14) There are few pieces left from this period, as Weston destroyed most of his work. Years later, he commented:
"I painted some pretty wild things, but always I came a little closer to my own language of form and the expression of my own feeling for this coast region; its epic quality, its grandeur, its natural beauty."(15)