Painting


Just a few miles south of Saskatoon on the South Saskatchewan River (Treaty 6 Territory)

12″ X 36″ Acrylic on MDF

The Saskatchewan prairies lend themselves to painting wide scenes.

Fall 2019 Treaty 6 Territory 12″ X60″ Acrylic on MDF

In Ghana, a road winds south from Kumasi to the rim that surrounds a crater and sacred Lake Bosumtwi. Thirty villages nestle around the lake.

12″ X 36″ Acrylic on MDF

In the distant past, the lake level was much lower than it is now, with very large trees growing down the hillsides. Water levels have risen, flooding these trees, and leaving what remains of them standing in the water.

18″ X 24″ Acrylic on MDF

Fishing methods are restricted. Most commonly a net is thrown while sitting on a padua (a wooden plank).

24″ X 18″ Acrylic on MDF

For seven summers, the sailing highlight of the season for me each year has been the week-long Elbow Run on Lake Diefenbaker. The 2019 Run was another great camping/sailing event. We were very fortunate to have on the Run again our very good sailing friend, Dave Fischl along with his son, Chad. They brought with them Dave’s new drone and the results were some very dramatic shots of the lake. From that vantage high above, we see the lake with a new perspective. I used Dave’s shots as inspiration for a series of paintings.

The wide vistas lend themselves to big paintings. This one is 36″X60″, acrylic on MDF board (framed size – 42″X66″).

Looking towards Hitchcock’s Hideaway. 12″X60″ acrylic on MDF
Looking out from Tuft’s Bay beside, Elbow, Sask. 12″X60″ acrylic on MDF
Across from Rusty’s Coulee Marina and Palliser Regional Park.12″X60″ acrylic on MDF
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12×16 Acrylic on stretched canvas

For over forty years, sailing has been a passion of mine. In that time I have owned five sailboats of various types and sizes. My lone sailing lesson consisted of an afternoon on Jackfish Lake with my next brother who had learned how to sail while in the Coast Guard. He helped me to set up my first sailboat, a home-built fifteen foot wooden craft that I purchased for $500 and we sailed for a couple hours. After that I was at my own devices, relying on sailing magazines and a how-to-sail book that I had come across in a bookstore. This was long before the advent of the internet and YouTube – it was trial and error hands-on experience.

Somewhere along the way in my reading, I encountered a man who had profoundly changed conventional sailing in Europe with his designs for two hulled sailboats inspired by and modelled after traditional Polynesian sailing craft. In 1956 James Wharram and his two female crew members became the first to sail across the Atlantic on a 23 1/2 foot catamaran that he had designed and built. I became enthralled by his designs and his philosophical approach to sailing with an emphasis on stability and low cost construction. In 1999, I completed the construction of a 21 foot catamaran, designed by James Wharram, using a set of plans drawn by his partner, Hanneke Boon. The boat was a Tiki 21, given the number 97 since mine was the 97th set of plans sold by James Wharram Design for that model.  The reference photo for the painting above was one of the few photos taken of that boat, sailing on Brightsand Lake.

Sailing season is still at least two months away, but while we can’t sail, we can paint about it. This one was inspired by a shot taken at the 18 minute mark of the video of last year’s  camping/sailing expedition, the Elbow Run 2016. My brother was charging up behind me like he owned the lake, and it wasn’t long before he surged past me.

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20 X 16 Acrylic on stretched canvas

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12″ x 16″ Acrylic on stretched canvas

Enough time has passed that a generation have reached adulthood without seeing the six grain elevators once situated beside the CNR tracks running through Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Like the majority of elevators on the Canadian prairies, they were decommissioned and demolished years ago.

As a youngster, I often accompanied my Dad when he was hauling grain from our farm located fourteen and a half miles north of the town. Dad had built a wooden box on the back of a  two ton Ford truck and in that, we made the trip. This was a big improvement over the days before my time when my Grandfather and his neighbours used horses and wagons to do the job. Riding in the truck with Dad was always a good time. Occasionally if I was very lucky, Dad would take the time to buy us ice cream cones as a special treat.

Years later, when I had a go at farming, I hauled my own grain from my place five miles further north,  past my Dad’s farm, down through the Big Gully and back up, and on into the town. If I began early in the morning and if everything went well, I could sometimes make three round trips in one day with two hundred bushels of wheat or canola on each load. However, if there was a snag, like a loader that wouldn’t start, or a truck that got stuck, or a line-up causing delays, or a side trip to get machinery repairs, or groceries that needed to be bought, that meant two trips with perhaps enough time at the end of the day to load the truck for an early start the next morning.

With the elevators now gone, grain is hauled by semi-trailer to high through-put elevators located much further away. It has become “big business” – no time for ice cream cone treats for youngsters anymore.

When painting this, I referenced a numbered print drawn by friend and very well respected local artist, Velma Foster. The print hangs in my Mom’s home in Maidstone and brings back memories for me every time  I see it.

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