We lost Michael in the early morning of September, 22, 2021, from complications of an aggressive cancer, just three weeks before his 83rd birthday.
James ‘Michael’ Skinner was born in London, England, and immigrated to Toronto in August, 1956, with a passion for those big American cars of the ‘60s. He later illustrated many of the new models through his work with various art design studios in Toronto. His talent for drawing and illustration drew him into the advertising business. It was a hectic, heady business to be in during the late 1960s to mid 1970s.
During the latter part of his career, he and Bob Karman opened up their own studio involving photographic retouching.
Soon enough, computers began edging their way into illustration. Michael preferred the drawing board to the keyboard so opted out of advertising and decided to try his hand at fine art. His medium of choice was watercolour – not the easiest medium to work with. In the last couple of years, he began experimenting with acrylics. His paintings are reflective of the places he has visited and lived – landscapes of this lovely area of Georgian Bay: of the Chesapeake Bay area in Virginia, where he and Robyn owned a house for several years: vibrant paintings of the Bahamas, and his wonderful renditions of many sailing craft.
Around the same time as he moved away from advertising, he bought Banyandah, a 26’ lapstrake, wooden Folkboat and discovered a new passion. The Gucci loafers and designer suits were thrown aside and coveralls, jeans and boat shoes became the uniform.
After Wednesday night yacht club races in Toronto Harbour and LORC on the weekends on Lake Ontario, Michael decided he needed to do something different.
For almost 40 consecutive winters, he sailed and lived aboard his next two boats, Fruition and Estrellita. His constant crew, fellow adventurer, chief cook and bottle-washer was his partner, Robyn.
His infectious laughter, sense of fun and rants will be sorely missed by his two brothers and their families, David and Stephen Skinner, the families of his deceased sister and brother-in-law, Janet and Deryck Blythe, his fellow sailing mates at the Reef Boat Club, his large ‘sailing family’ throughout North America, the Meaford Creative Arts group, his many friends in Canada and the United States, his dog friends who will miss his treats, and most of all, his partner, best friend, and companion, Robyn Hunter, otherwise known as ‘Robynski’.
A celebration of life will be planned at a later date.
As your expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice through the Ferguson Funeral Home in Meaford.