Roderick MacIver Bio



My art is inspired by canoe trips in the Canadian north, by time in the Adirondack woods, by a quiet life on the outside looking in. Birdsong, a few good friends, paddling wild rivers. Painting.


In 1994, I founded Heron Dance, a newsletter that evolved into a book publisher. Heron Dance published about twenty of my books and sixty journals, many of which have been republished and are available on Amazon (see below). These explored the boundaries of the human enclosure, including self-imposed limitations and boundaries. Excerpts from these works are offered in the e-newsletter A Pause for Beauty, that about 11,000 people have signed up for. Each contains a Roderick MacIver painting. It's free. You can sign up here.



  Partial List of Credits:




  • North Atlantic Books, an affiliate of Random House, has republished many Heron Dance titles, all containing the writing and nature art of Roderick MacIver, including Thoreau and the Art of Life, Art As a Way of Life, The Heron Dance Book of Love & Gratitude, Earth My Likeness, and The Laws of Nature.

    For more on my current book project, Journal Meditations of a Nature Artist, visit here.


    Magazines, Calendars and Catalogs:


    • Bioneers Conference Catalog
    • The Cougar Rewilding Foundation
    • Earthlight
    • Earth Island Journal
    • EverChanging
    • Fish & Fly
    • Friends Journal
    • Ministry of the Arts
    • Nastagan, The Journal of the Wilderness Canoe Association
    • One Spirit Catalog
    • Pomegranate 2008 Calendar
    • Progressive Christian
    • ROWE Conference Center
    • Spirit and Nature
    • Timberlake Farm
    • Wild Earth
    • Wooden Canoe
    • Zen Mountain Monastery


    Wilderness Protection Groups:
    • Ministry of the Arts
    • Northeast Wilderness Trust
    • RESTORE: The North Woods
    • Raincoast Conservation Society
    • Sky Island Alliance
    • The Wild Foundation
    I have donated signed, limited-edition prints and the use of my art to well over two hundred wilderness protection groups and other nonprofits. To request a donation, contact me at rodmaciver(at)gmail(dot)com.



    • Numerous private collections
    • Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, Oregon
    • University of Louisiana, Baton Rouge
    • University of California, Davis


    Thoughts on My Art, and on Art in General


    Quiet, beautiful places in the woods sustain me. I grew up surrounded by fields and forests. Many of my memories of childhood are of roaming around in the woods, of soakers and birdsong, of lying on my back watching the clouds float by. In my early teens I discovered wilderness canoeing. My first trips were with the YMCA in northern Canada. Later, my parents owned a cottage in Quebec and I began exploring nearby lakes that had no road into them and no people. I’d drag my canoe up shallow streams, or portage, and find a place to camp where I could just sit and watch the birds and the water.



    Erase the lines: I pray you not to love classifications.
    The thing is like a river, from source to sea-mouth one flowing life.
        - Robinson Jeffers, Monument


    Robinson Jeffers’ words “one flowing life” capture my imagination. I think I know what he means. In my art, I try to flow, to capture the essence and spirit of that great flowing life, of struggle and silence and peace. I try to express the spirit and essence rather than the details which often distract. Even the river, from source to sea-mouth, has a life. Capturing that in painting is the center of my creative life.





    My academic career was limited. I left school when I was sixteen and hitchhiked north, hoping to find indigenous people living close to the land. The closest I came was fighting forest fires with Dogrib Indians near Great Slave Lake in what was then Canada’s Northwest Territories. Other than a couple of night classes at university, I’ve avoided formal education. Instead, I’ve read thousands of books and interviewed hundreds of people who had insights into subjects that interested me.


    Nature Painting, Grand Bay
    Thirty years old, sitting beside a wilderness lake shrouded in a gray, pre-dawn fog, two loons drifted in and out of view. One stretched and called that haunting call of the wild. Four years later I had to spend a week every couple of months in a hospital getting experimental chemotherapy. I would lie in the hospital bed, close my eyes, and see and hear that lake and those loons. The actual experience lasted perhaps twenty seconds, but it sustained me through hours and months.



    loon painting


    Perhaps each human life is fed by the underground spring of a few experiences. When we are there, we touch something beyond words. Four such experiences come to my mind. Perhaps there have been a few more. They make me who I am to me, who I am under the persona I assume to negotiate my way in the world.


    A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.

    – Albert Camus


    For anyone interested in a more detailed, chronological outline of my background:

    - left home at the age of 15 live in the bush with Indians who had returned to a traditional way of life. At the age of 16 fought forest fires and lived with Dogrib Indians near Great Slave Lake in Canada's subarctic.
    - when 17, sold Collier's encyclopedia door to door from Winnipeg Manitoba to Nova Scotia
    - when 18, became a real estate salesman. At the age of 22 successfully concentrated on the sale of nursing homes and hotels.
    - began a real estate investment company at the age of 24.
    - became a stock broker at the age of 25, an investment manager at 26, founded an  research firm on Wall Street that served corporate acquirers and institutions at the age of 28.
    - moved to Adirondack Park at the age of 32, survived a terminal cancer diagnosis (stage 4, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma)
    - founded Heron Dance Press at the age of 36. Heron Dance explored subjects related to the human search for meaning, human creativity and the human connection to the natural world. Published Heron Dance for twenty years.
    - began whitewater kayaking at the age of 54, with limited success.

    I've published about twenty books of my art and writing. Many were republished by North Atlantic Books, an affiliate of Random House. Others are sold out, but even those are generally available used on Amazon although generally at several times the original price of publication.


    To read a description of our e-journal, A Pause for Beauty, visit here.


    For more on my current book project, Journal Meditations of a Nature Artist, visit here


    Rod's Amazon Author's page can be viewed here.