Woodblock & Serigraph Art by  Dale Stavroff

Dale Stavroff

Roberts Creek, British Columbia



Dale was born and raised in Canada and has lived in Roberts Creek, British Columbia for the past 11 years. He spent most of the early part of his adult life as a musician and singer-songwriter. He played in numerous bands in Vancouver and Toronto, touring extensively.  He took a brief respite from performing and toured North America as an audio technician with Randy Bachman's "BTO" and worked with many other artists...from Jeff Beck and the late Vassar Clemens to England's John Dankworth and Cleo Lane doing live sound reinforcement. He had numerous invitations to record in the US, but preferred to stay in Canada...his home.  He currently plays on the Coast  with his daughter and fiddler, Rosalee Stavroff, in the well known musical act "Back Porch Reunion".

While on sabbatical from the music industry, he became interested in training dogs and produced many championship animals. He also trained dogs for important people in the entertainment industry, including the controversial "Dr. Laura" Schlesinger of talk radio and Anthony Kiedis of the "Red Hot Chili Peppers." This period ended with the world wide publication of his seminal book "Let the Dog Decide" which is well known and respected in the dog training community. This publication was followed by a long tour of TV appearances and speaking engagements in Canada and the U.S.  Of all his creative works, the creation of this complete, unique and new vision of the humane treatment and training of dogs is what he is best known for.

Dale was raised in an artistic family and learned to draw, paint and particularly to model from his father...a superb artist and engineer who worked on aircraft design. As with most people, art came and went during different times in his life, but it never strayed far from him. During his many speaking tours he visited every major gallery in the U.S. and Canada and spent many hours of studio time with known artists discussing the craft. The stress of touring brought Dale back to painting watercolours as a way to relax and relieve the tensions of public performance, but he soon found himself working full time on sculptures and large mobile installations of scale models of World War 1 bi and tri planes as well as wire sculptures of mountain climbers installed on rock walls and large fireplaces in private homes. At this time he also created free standing sculptures and "bas-relief" works made by cutting and then laminating numerous sheets of coloured art-board to reveal ancient Egyptian images. These projects were placed in private collections.

Exhausted by many years of travel to and from Los Angeles and New York, he moved with his family to the Sunshine Coast where he began to train dogs once again, this time producing "scent work" dogs for Search and Rescue as well as  dogs for arson detection. He continued to paint watercolours and acrylics for private collectors and to further his own artistic education until his daughter, then 13 years old, became interested in playing the violin professionally. He started "Back Porch Reunion" and they have been playing on the Coast ever since. In 2012 he took a new artistic direction...printing from hand carved "wood-blocks" using the traditional Japanese method....only a knife and chisel to make the marks. It was this revelation, the making of wood block prints, that has brought Dale from a multi-faceted approach to art, to a single, driven, purpose. Woodblock printing brings the skills of design, modeling, painting and the craft of sculpture into one complete art...an art that demands all of these skills to produce a print.

He began this artistic journey where man first made pictures on cave walls and rocks, producing single statement mono-colour prints that reflected man's struggle to communicate his feelings through marking. He has since moved on to multi-woodblock prints that reflect his personal interests and the environment here on the West Coast. This is the work in which he is presently engaged.

Man has always been compelled to make marks. As the computer age has crept upon us, young artists have drifted towards this technology, as indeed they should. However, we need to remember our roots as human beings and how we all began in a time when a person had only their ingenuity and a few crude tools with which to express their inner feelings. Wood-block printing is a return to that time, a reminder to us all of man's inherent creativity and grace. The smell of fresh cut wood, the feel of the tool in the hand.... the simple impression of pigment on hand made paper....I use no power tools, no computers, no digital imaging or graphics. Only a few simple tools...and the will to do the work.

I create because I must. It is that simple. There is no other life for me. I have expressed myself in every endeavor in which I have participated. I created a more humane way to train dogs because it sickened me to watch them being abused. I created music because people need to have relief from their troubles and worries...and music soothes them. I am driven to respond to what I feel and experience around me. It is my purpose as a human being.

I have assumed nothing and taken nothing for granted. I have never attended art school, or music school, or sat at the feet of the "learned". I have painted, played, sung, sculpted and written and created because I have no choice but to do so. Everything I have ever done has built upon itself and led to the next form of expression. Paints, brushes, paper, chisels, musical instruments and the technique of using them are the tools of self expression. They mean nothing without the desire...no...the need I feel to express myself. To speak to those things that I cannot express in words. The touch of the brush on canvas, the feel of the chisel cutting through virgin wood, cutting away the chaff to find the image hidden in its grain, the sound of an instrument sending echos into the vastness of space...these are the essentials of life. I have always painted and drawn and twisted wire and carved and cut wood, searching to speak to the human dilemma...my dilemma...and I always will.

Original Hand-Made Woodblock Prints

Moku Hanga

Dale Stavroff

Roberts Creek, B.C.  V0N 2W2



About the Artist