Edward Epp was born in 1950 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He studied fine art at the University of Saskatchewan, graduating at the top of his class with an MA in studio art. Thereafter, he made a living teaching art to young people, producing and exhibiting his own work whenever possible. In 1981, Epp and his wife, Leanne Boschman, moved to Liberia in West Africa, where they worked as teachers, remaining there until civil unrest prompted their return to Canada in the mid 1980s. In 1988, they decided to settle in Terrace, a small town in northern British Columbia, eventually moving to the nearby coastal community of Prince Rupert in 1999. During this period, Epp began a second career in family counseling after obtaining a Masters degree in psychology from the University of Northern British Columbia. Epp and Boschman currently live in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Like many semi-representational painters of his generation, Epp began his artistic career as an abstract artist, creating works in the studio that were heavily inspired by the Swiss artist Paul Klee. If over time Epp has all but abandoned pure abstraction, still the principles of abstract design and composition have continued to play an important role in his artistic expression. As a landscapist, Epp has always preferred to paint en plein air, a manner of working outdoors pioneered by the French landscape painters of the Barbizon school in the mid 1800s and subsequently popularized by the Impressionists. As a result of his preferred method, Epp has learned to work rapidly, producing paintings that are anything but meticulous or detailed. Often loose and gestural in their execution and brushwork, these works revel in the physicality of the medium itself. An extraordinarily gifted colourist, Epp’s fluid, light filled images luxuriate in radiant, glimmering hues. Whether he is portraying the harbour at Prince Rupert, the wide Kitimat River Valley or the majestic slopes that rise awesomely from the powerful Skeena River, Epp’s atmospheric images of the British Columbia landscape go beyond naturalism, evoking not just the region they depict but also its unique spirit.