Thursday, May 9, 2019

Bowl of Fruits for Mary, an homage

16 x 16", acrylic on gessoed aluminium panel
Painting #269, 2018-19

I completed my first acrylic painting 32 years ago. With the passage of time and having many outside influences that informs my art, I can attest without any doubt, that the most influential artist/painter of my artistic career has been Mary Pratt.

Sadly, Mrs Pratt passed away on August 14, 2018 at the age of 83. 

In 1987, when I moved to Moncton , NB, it was not long before I started to frequently visit the Owens Art Gallery at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB. It was here that I was introduced to her art. Some of the first paintings of hers that I saw were "Romancing the Casserole", 1985 and "Hollowed Eggs for Easter", 1983. I can vividly recall being awestruck by them and was enamored by her ability to transform a fleeting moment of her own domestic life into art. The way she frames the images, her ability to capture light and shadows, her unique bold colour palette are but some of the signature characteristics that drew me in from the start. 

Mary Pratt - Hollowed Eggs for Easter, 1983
30 x 36", oil on gessoed masonite panel
Acadia University, Wolfville, NS

Since the beginning of the millennium, I've done several paintings that were generally inspired from her oeuvre, others were homages to her while using some of her art books to anchor a still life composition.  

My homage painting Made in Canada” (2014) was recently published in the book, “Central European Journal of Canadian Studies”, volume 12 / 13 (2018). It appeared in an article entitled “The Book Cover as an Artistic Statement and a Cultural Phenomenon - A Canadian Example” written by Nikola Tutek. The article surveys the interrelations between the writer and the artist, in this case - three of Alice Munro’s books featuring Mary Pratt’s artwork. This book was published by Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. I felt extremely honored to be included in the same breath of these two Canadian icons.

For bio notes on Mary Pratt please refer to a previous post - Made in Canada, Oct. 20, 2014.



The inspiration for this current homage painting, "A Bowl of Fruits for Mary", was sparked when I saw a book while browsing on eBay last summer. I was not aware of it's existence until then. "Across the Table, An Indulgent Look at Food in Canada" was published in 1985 by Prentice-Hall. It was a collaboration between Cynthia Wine and Mary Pratt, chronicling regional culinary specialties found on the back-burners of stoves in homes across the country. Cynthia Wine is a critically acclaim Canadian writer born in Winnipeg. Mrs Wine was a restaurant critic at the Toronto Star for 25 years and a food editor at Homemaker's Magazine. Mary Pratt would create some 35 watercolour paintings and 5 drawings especially for the book. All of these images were new to me. Many of them are watercolour sketches, some are presented in form of a story board while others are very elaborate, polished and masterfully painted like "Live lobsters with claw bands", "Corn in a Polish dishcloth" and "Tea tray with Florentine"

Mary Pratt was a very prolific painter. She has stated in interviews that she made many sacrifices including not having an active social life in order to paint, to stay focused and to dedicate her life to art. It would be very interesting to see the catalogue raisonné for the totality of her artwork. Her most famous paintings have been published in art books or shown in retrospective exhibitions, but many are unpublished and do come up for sale once in a while at auction.  

Since her recent passing, her artwork has garnered immediate consideration and attention. Last fall, her oil painting Preserving Summer - Black Currant Jam, came up for auction with an estimated value between $30,000 - $40,000. When the hammer fell at the Heffel Auction House in Toronto, the painting sold for $133,250 (including buyer's premium), more than doubling her previous record price of $59,000 Can. 


Mary Pratt
Preserving Summer - Black Currant Jam
24 x 30 in, oil on canvas, 1998

Mrs Pratt was one of the driving voices in establishing The Rooms, the provincial art gallery and archives in St John's, NL, the city where she had lived since 1992. In addition to painting, Mrs Pratt was also a writer. Her book, A Personal Calligraphy, published in 2000, contained more than 30 works of art done during the 1990's along with her writings from speeches, published articles, essays and journal entries.  

Bowl of Fruits for Mary, an homage was completed in early February. Yesterday, I drove to Sackville, NB to deliver the painting at the Fog Forest Gallery. Unbeknownst to me when I was doing the painting that this spring, the Owens Art Gallery would be hosting the exhibition- Mary Pratt: The Floating World, March 1 to May 17.



This exhibition celebrates the intricate, dazzling, and sometimes unsettling artistic vision of Mary Pratt. Featuring a selection of works from our permanent collection, the exhibition spotlights a series of woodblock prints Pratt created in collaboration with Japanese master printmaker Masato Arikushi. This nine-year creative exchange, one of the most important of Pratt’s career, produced a breathtaking suite of carefully observed, spectacularly lush meditations on still life as an expression of the transitory nature of life. On the occasion of her solo exhibition Simple Bliss (2004), Pratt wrote, “The most unexpected delight has been my association with Masato Arikushi in the making of the series of prints we call Transformations. I found an artisan who understood my ideas so well that he needed little input from me once he had studied the paintings I provided. Gradually his own ideas melded with my original images, and I detected his own imagery inserting itself into my own. I liked that. It all fit.”
This exhibition has been organized in memory of Mary Pratt, who was a graduate of Mount Allison University’s Fine Arts Department (Class of ’57). She passed away in August 2018 at the age of 83. 
Curated by Emily Falvey  (1.)

I had written a few letters of appreciation to Mrs Pratt, especially after viewing a few of her retrospective exhibitions. To my delight, she always graciously replied. Sharing a bit of her insight and giving me words of encouragements. I think I share a lot of her philosophies of life and of being rooted in Atlantic Canada. I will always remember Mary Pratt as the beacon of light that she was, in life and through her art.


Part of a group exhibition at the Fog Forest Gallery
OPEN BORDERS
May 9-26, 2019





To acquire this painting please contact:
14 Bridge Street, Sackville,
New Brunswick, Canada, E4L 3N5
Phone (506) 536-9000

___________
1.- excerpt from the website "exhibitions" page of Owens Art Gallery

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

31ST ANNUAL RNS ART SHOW AND SALE

Title- A WORLD IN NEED OF MORE SUPERHEROS
Acrylic on mounted gessobord, 11 x 14"
Painting # 220, ©-2014
(black wooden floater frame)


Each spring, the Rothesay Netherwood School holds its annual art show fundraiser to help raise much-needed funds to support programming and capital projects that benefit the students – 2019 will mark the school’s 31st annual art show and sale fundraiser. The school which was established in 1877, is an independent/private boarding and day school for grades 6-12 in Rothesay, NB.


This show features the work of local and regional professional and emerging artists.

Funds raised during this year’s event will be used to fund priority projects to enhance the school’s campus and enrich the learning environment for our students.

I was contacted by the school earlier this year to submit a piece. "A World in need of more Superheros" will be exhibited and up for sale during the event.

On Friday, May 10th, 2019, RNS will bring art lovers, collectors, and artists together for an evening of fine art, great food, music, and fundraising. The show will continue throughout the day on Saturday, May 11th

The list of artists with a preview of the works to be shown, can be found on this LINK.

For more information, please call Nic Carhart, the School Office at 506.848.0861 or email artshow@rns.cc.

My Blog post for this painting is at this LINK

-SOLD

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The future of this Blog??? - please read

I began this art blog in 2007 and have posted all of my artwork and happenings pertaining to my artistic career since then. I have received notification that on 2 April 2019, Google will be shutting down consumer Google+ and will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in my album archive and on my Google+ pages will also be deleted. This is what worries me right now. Whenever I log-in to access my blog, it is through a Google+ account. I have tried to change the account to Google Chrome to no avail. It is quite possible that after April 2, my blog "Acrylic and Light, the Artwork of Alvin Richard" will still be visible on-line but if I can't log in, I will no longer be able make updates or add new posts. In other words, it will become inactive.

In the event that this should happen then or afterwards, I will be starting a new blog on Google Chrome that will be entitled "Acrylic and Light, the Art of Alvin Richard". The internet address will be: https://alvinrichard-artist.blogspot.com/ . Hoping that you will continue to follow me and my artistic career.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Victory Kisses in Times Square, an homage to Alfred Eisenstaedt

16 x 8", acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminum panel
Painting #270, 2019

This is my third painting of what is turning so far into a mini Hershey's Kisses series. These larger chocolate Kisses are seasonal and are only available from Christmas through Valentine's Day. For my third instalment, I chose the iconic photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt while on assignment for Life magazine. The picture entitled VJ Day in Times Square, VJ Day or The Kiss was taken on August 14, 1945, at the announcement of the end of the war with Japan. 

The persons who were later identified in the photograph are Navy sailor George Mendonsa  (b. 1923) and dental hygienist Greta Zimmer Friedman (b. 1924- d. 2016). Many articles were published from the point of view of the photographer and both parties involved who did not know each other when the photo was taken. The spontaneous kiss was explained by George Mendonsa as a general thank you to all nurses for their indispensable service during war time.   

That afternoon, George Mendonsa was coming out of Radio City Music Hall with his girlfriend Rita, when victory over Japan was announced. In the photograph, Rita can be seen peeking over his right upper arm. In 2018, George and Rita had been married for 71 years.

I used a Special Edition of Life Magazine, Fall 1990, acquired on eBay as the photo study for the painting. It is one of the magazine's most famous pictures in print. Rita is circled in red. 




Update-February 18, 2019 - It was announced today that George Mendosa died yesterday at an assisted living facility in Middleton, R.I. He would have turned 96 tomorrow. Rest in peace Mr. Mendosa. Condolences to his wife, family & friends.  

To acquire this painting, please contact: 

Galerie de Bellefeuille
1367 avenue Greene, 
Montreal, Quebec H3Z 2A8 Tel: 514.933.4406
e-mail- art@debellefeuille.com

-SOLD

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Murano Glass Decanter on a Windowsill

Acrylic on gessoed aluminium panel mounted on birch cradle panel
16 x 12", painting #268, 2018

This past September, my wife Suzanne and I flew to Winnipeg, rented a car and embarked on a two-week road trip of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. These were the last two remaining provinces we had yet to visit of our amazing country. We did a ginormous 2465 km loop stopping in Portage-la-Prairie, Brandon, Whitewood, Regina, Moose Jaw, the Great Sand Hills, Leader, Saskatoon, Manitou Beach, Riding Mountain National Park, Wasagaming and our last four days were spent in Winnipeg. The flat terrain of the prairies with sight lines at the horizon that seems endless creates the sensation of vastness, wide-open spaces and big sky country. Almost all of the fields had been cut and harvested. All that remained were the odd bails of hay. While driving, my eyes were always scanning the landscape in a state of awe and wonderment. We did a lot of walking and sightseeing and got to see some amazing art from prominent prairie artists such as Leo Mol, William Kurelek, Joe Fafard, Victor Cicansky, Wilf Perreault, Dorothy Knowles, Ivan Eyre, Marsha Kennedy, Belinda Kriek and Andrew Valko. The only artist that eluded us was Karel Funk. 

In Saskatoon we visited the Remai Modern, a new public art museum on the Canadian landscape that opened in 2017. In a New York Times travel feature it was listed at #18 of the "52 Places to Go in the World in 2018". The museum replaced the Mendel Art Gallery that closed in 2015 and now houses the Mendel's art collection. Main patron, Ellen Remai has gifted the museum with an extensive collection of Picasso wood-cut prints evaluated at 20 million dollars. 



bottom- myself, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The photographic studies for this painting was taken in the gift shop of the Remai Modern. It was a technically complex imagery to undertake. I had to make several adjustments, edit and improvise many sections in order to achieve a composition to my liking. The art glass is a Gage Murano glass decanter. Also on display from this collection were drinking glasses and an open face bowl. 

Part of a group exhibition at the Fog Forest Gallery
THE WORLD IN SOLEMN STILLNESS LAY
NOVEMBER 20, 2018 – DECEMBER 31, 2018

To acquire this painting please contact:
14 Bridge Street, Sackville,
New Brunswick, Canada, E4L 3N5
Phone (506) 536-9000

Friday, October 26, 2018

POP Goes the World

14 x 11", acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminium panel
painting #267, 2018

Frederic Tuten (b.1936) is an American novelist, writer, art and film critic. Tuten was a friend of both Hergé and Roy Lichtenstein. He has published several essays on the work of Lichtenstein as well as catalogues of other artists such as Eric Fischl. With the permission of Hergé, Tuten took Tintin and plunged him into a coming of age adventure, this time going to Machu Picchu with Captain Haddock and Snowy. The narrative follows Tintin as he meets and falls in love with Clavdia Chauchat, which for the first time in his life will awaken and arouse sexual desires. During this process, a metamorphoses occurs as he shed his physical image of a boy-man. This dream-like escapade with political overtones included four characters taken from Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel, “The Magic Mountain”, of which Clavdia Chauchat is among the cast. Prior to this novel, Tintin had always retain the image of being asexual throughout the comic book series

The novel, “Tintin in the New World” was published in 1993, a decade after the passing of Hergé. However, chapters of Tintin in the New World had first appeared in it's entire form in Fiction (1975), Tri-quarterly (1975),  Syntaxis (1984), Artform (1984) and De Brakke Hond (1984). It is perhaps Tuten's best known and most critically acclaimed work. It has been translated into six languages and has gone through several print runs. I had a chance to read the novel during a recent vacation and am in agreement with several critiques I've read on-line which were mixed. Tuten will be publishing a memoir, My Young Life, slated to arrive in bookstores in March 2019.

Roy Lichtenstein had previously done artwork for a book cover of Tuten’s 1971 novel, The Adventures of Mao on the Long March. The artwork that appears on the cover of Tintin in the New World was especially done for the novel in 1993 and is entitled “Tintin Reading”. I only discovered the existence of the Tuten/Lichtenstein collaboration this past August by happenstance. 

I had acquired the collectible figure of Tintin reading in the big red armchair 2 years ago upon visiting the Tintin Boutique in Brussels, Belgium. "Coffret at home" was inspired from the pages of the comic book “L’oreille cassée" (The Broken Ear), published in 1937, page 10 and 11. Tintin was originally holding a book entitled “Voyages aux Amériques” by Ch. J. Walker, Graveau éditeur, 1875. I decided to play with the narrative and have Tintin read his own adventure in Tuten's novel instead.




In the beginning of the novel, it is revealed that Tintin is an art collector and is amassing a collection which includes Danse by Henri Matisse which appears in the artwork. 
Capitain Haddock: "What about your art collecting? Have you given that up, too? All those unopened crates of paintings you've left unexamined: that Matisse you spent ages to acquire- that one with all those naked dancing people- still in its shipping case."
 Photographed during a visit at the MOMA, NYC, Dec. 2015



Lichtenstein had previously drawn inspiration from Matisse's masterwork when in 1973, he incorporated The Dance in a very large scale painting entitled, Artist's Studio- The Dance.

Artist's studio - The Dance, 1973
magna, oil on canvas, 243.8 x 325.1 cm
collection of the MOMA, NYC


Sculptor Seward Johnson is another artist whom was inspired by Matisse's The Dance and created multi-pieces 3-dimension bronze sculptures that included Matisse himself painting on a canvas and models. 

Seward Johnson
photographed during a trip to Key West, Florida
March 2011. 

This painting marks the first time that I have use the camera from my iPod Touch to do the photo study for the painting.
  
Trivia- Lichtenstein's Tintin Reading was also used for a retrospective of his work held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal in 1994.



This is my second of two paintings that will exhibited at Art Toronto with La Galerie de Bellefeuille of Montreal. The exhibition will be held from October 26 to 29, 2018 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West, Toronto.
-SOLD

Thursday, October 25, 2018

L'as du volant ( The Driving Ace)

12 x 12", acrylic on mounted claybord
painting #266, 2018

Where does inspiration come from? For me it is often from getting a visceral response when I see something. I'll make a mental note, then eventually when other elements present themselves, much like making a small jig-saw puzzle, the image is revealed to me as a concept.

It is funny how a mundane moment can inspire a painting. During my month long vacation in Europe this past May, I met a lady from La Rochelle, France while on my two-week, 330 km hike on the Camino. When I told her that my French ancestor, Michel Richard crossed the Atlantic in 1652 from La Rochelle, she replied that her first husband was actually a Richard and both of her children have Richard as their family name. After my return home, I received a friend request from her on Facebook. Some time had passed when she wrote me a short note on messenger to see what I was up to. She mentioned that their lives had return to normal and her husband was re-joined a club to play Tarot. I only knew Tarot as cards used for divination or fortune telling. 

When I Googled French Tarot, I learned that it is a card game using strategy played with 4 players. Among the Google images that appeared on screen was the French card game “Mille Bornes”. I got an immediate visceral response upon seeing this nostalgic game and the wheels started turning. Thirty minutes later, I would find a Tintin at the wheel of a race car on eBay. The die-cast car that also features Snowy and the Thompson Twins was inspired from the comic book, “Les cigares du Pharaon” (Cigars of the Pharaoh), page 66. I would also acquired a 1971 edition of Milles Bornes on eBay. I wanted to use this edition since it was that one that I played during my youth. 

Hergé's comic strip from "Cigars of the Pharaoh)


Milles Bornes was created by Edmond Dujardin in 1954, with the card illustrated by Joseph Le Callennec. This card game based on a road trip is for 2 to 6 players, usually played by 4 players, 2 on each team, as a partnership. The object of this game is the first player or team to accumulate a total of exactly 5000 points in several hands of play. In so doing, players try to complete trips of exactly 1000 km/miles= 1000 points in each hand played. The term "Bornes" refers to the kilometre milestones found on many roads in France and Europe. 

My son Jean-Luc on a roadside borne in France, 2006


During my research, I also found a special edition of Mille Bornes based on The Adventures of Tintin. Ironically, as I was searching for an image for this blog post, the same sports car with our merry cast is featured on one of the cards. 



Trivia- The pop band Thompson Twins,  part of second British invasion of the 1980 was named after the two bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson from Hergé's comic books.

This is one of two paintings that will exhibited at Art Toronto with La galerie de Bellefeuille of Montreal. The exhibition will be held from October 26 to 29, 2018 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West, Toronto.
-SOLD


Monday, October 8, 2018

A Moveable Feast

11 x 14", acrylic on gessoed aluminium panel
painting #265, 2018

This painting is a commission piece for a lovely couple who have a summer home in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. My wife and I met them over a wonderful lunch she had prepared for us of seafood chowder, salad and trifle for dessert. I started to brainstorm ideas for a composition as we got acquainted, then did a photo shoot in their backyard overlooking the Minas Basin / Bay of Fundy. 

In the past, I have used mason jars in several of my paintings. These utilitarian bottles designed for preserving food become an allegorical form of symbolism when used in preserving personal objects, places, memories. I did the photo studies for the painting during low tide, when most of the basin had emptied out, revealing a muddy clay bottom floor. I was later sent photos taken at high tide and painted from several pictures. 

Without going into specific details, from our first meeting to delivering the finish painting I found the whole process informed me in creating a very biographical piece just by using props. Every objects and the space in the composition had personal meaning to her, all anchored on a table build by her grand father.

On a personal note, this area is also dear to me since my French ancestor came to Acadia in 1652 and settled in nearby Port Royal. Along this basin's shore lies Evangeline Beach where the late artist, Alex Colville owned a summer cottage and used the setting as a back drop for several of his paintings. He lived in nearby Wolfville. 

When I started to concentrate on still life painting at the turn of the millennium, the artwork of Mary Pratt would become my main source of inspiration. What distinguished Mrs. Pratt from most still life painters apart from her signature approach to painting glass, light and colour palette was that she used the natural setting in and around her home instead of setting up a composition in a very neutral and unassuming space. On a very sad note, she passed away on August 14 after a lengthy illness at the age of 83. I completed this painting at the end of August and would dedicate the remaining hours in her memory. It is a great loss for her family, all those who loved her and the Canadian artistic community.

Mary Pratt photographed in January, 2000
Globe and Mail

-Commission 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Grill Side Refreshment

20 x 10", acrylic on mounted aluminium panel
painting #264, 2018

This painting is my 9th to feature a red Meco charcoal grill which we've owned for some 20 years. Although it's been retired from use for at least a decade, I've have held on to it mainly for art sake to use as a prop. It still resides in our backyard. Last year it received a much needed makeover with a fresh coat of paint and new cedar plank side tables. It now looks as good as new. 

Previous artwork 2006-2016


This iconic Coca-Cola bottle and carton are both from the 1960's. I was lucky enough to find these from two different Kijiji listings; the bottle here in Moncton, NB and the carton from Summerside. PEI. 

Part of group exhibition - Under Summer Skies being held at the Fog Forest Gallery, until September 8. 

To acquire this painting please contact:
Fog Forest Gallery
14 Bridge Street, Sackville,
New Brunswick, Canada, E4L 3N5
Phone (506) 536-9000

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Glorious Color - PoetsArtists

click on image to enlarge

This book arrived in the mail this week. One of my paintings was selected with 50 most talented artists from around the globe in PoetsArtists latest publication entitled "Glorious Color". Gratitude and appreciation to publisher Didi Menendez and guest curator, artist and writer Lorena Kloosterboer.
 
Acquire a copy from this link- http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1471055

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Le Chemin

Acrylic on gessoed mounted birch panel, 7 x 5"
painting #263, 2018

I've just return from a one month stay in Europe. My main goal was to return on the Camino and complete the Puy Way in France that my wife and I had started last year. In 2017, we hiked 270 km from Puy en Velay to Figeac over 10 days. My wife would suffer a knee injury and we were forced to stop here.

This year, I flew to Paris alone and did some sightseeing for three days before catching a train for Figeac. I had planned 19 days to complete the 480 km trek from Figeac to the French-Spanish border town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. By day-4, I would encounter my own problem by accumulating 12 blisters on my feet. After a week on the Camino, I decided to stop in Moissac for the weekend to give my sad feet a break. I would resume my hike for another week. The two days off and having to arrive one day ahead of schedule because of an on-going train strike, would force me to leave the Camino on day-16 since Aire-sur-L'Adour was the last town I had access to public transportation. In summary, I hiked a total of 335 km over 14 days plus 2 days of rest. I was very fortunate to have so many wonderful encounters and made many new friends during the whole trip. 

I took full advantage of my time in Europe by spending three days each in Paris, Bordeaux, London, Dublin, Ireland /Belfast, Northern Ireland. I visited in excess of 30 museums, galleries, venues and countless churches which included: 

  • The Louis Vuitton Foundation, L'Orangerie, le Musée D'Orsay, Musée Rodin, Panthéon, les Invalides all in Paris. 
  • Le Musée-des-Beaux-Arts, Cité du Vin in Bordeaux. 
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Museum, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the Tate Britain, the Saatchi Gallery, the Chelsea Flower Show - all in London.  
  • The National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Guinness Storehouse all in Dublin.
  • The Titanic Belfast. 


This small painting was a gift to my friend Philippe and his wife Dora (an amazing classical pianist) who graciously invited me to stay with them during my three night stay in Paris. I met Philippe nine years ago while hiking the 800 km of the Camino Francés in Spain. We've kept in touch ever since. It was great to see him and meet his family. Last year, he completed both the ultra-endurance races of the Marathon des Sables in Morrocco in the spring and the Marathon des Sables in Peru in the fall. This composition features a Tintin figuring of Cigars of the Pharaoh resting on Le Pèlerin de Compostelle (The Pilgrimage) by Paulo Coelho. The book was published in 1987, a year before his runaway best seller, The Alchemist. The image is infused with symbolism that represents Philippe very well, not only for his athletic abilities but for his humanity as well. 

Private collection - Paris, France. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Date with Audrey, gifts from Tiffany's

Acrylic on gessoed aluminium panel, 18 x 14"
painting #262, 2018

This painting was inspired by the iconic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in which Audrey Hepburn plays the role of Holly Golightly, a naive, eccentric socialite in search of a wealthy man to marry.  The movie also stars George Peppard, who plays the role of Paul, an unpublished writer and kept man who recently moved into a NYC apartment in the same building she lives in. The filmed is based on Truman Capote's novella of the same name and was directed by Blake Edwards.  

Holly: I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s.
Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewellery store.
Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! 

I came across the new revamped Tiffany perfume and bottle last fall in a cosmetic brochure. The instant I saw it, the whole narrative popped in my head. It is by far the most expensive prop I’ve ever purchase for a painting since it was priced at $150. It is a marvel of design and comes in Tiffany's signature robin egg blue box. The image of Audrey Hepburn that appears on this calendar is credited to the Hulton Archive, circa 1950's.

Audrey Hepburn is one of only four actresses to have won the EGOT, which is comprised of being a recipient of the four major American entertainment awards; an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony. She was also revered for her humanitarian work as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador. The part of Holly Golightly would earn her an Academy Award nomination for best actress in a leading role. 

-SOLD by Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pure Maple Syrup and Hudson Bay Company Scarf

Acrylic on gessoed aluminium panel, 2018
12 x 12", painting #261

When I did the photo study for this painting,  I was cross-country skiing in Centennial Park in my home city of Moncton, NB while carrying a backpack with props and camera inside. With this painting I wanted to document three things that are truly Canadian: Maple Syrup, the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) and Winter! The Hudson Bay Company was incorporated in 1670 and was a fur trading business for much of its existence before several acquisitions and mergers with other retail stores. It is the oldest company in Canada, predating the confederation by almost 200 years. 

I started the painting while the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics got underway. HBC was the official clothing outfitter for members of the Canadian Olympic team for the 1936, 1960, 1964, 1968 games and has been the official outfitter of both the winter and summer Olympiads since 2006. During the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, they also outfitted the carriers for the Olympic Torch Relay. It was during this event that the famous red mittens were introduced, selling 2,6 million pairs that year alone. 

Olympic Torch Relay of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympiads
left- myself / right- Marc-André LeBlanc

The scarf in the painting is from the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic apparel collection with coloured stripes reflecting the fives colours of the Olympic rings. The scarf was inspired from the iconic HBC wool point blanket with the four stripes in green, red yellow and indigo. The origin of the blankets dates back to the 1700's and were typically traded with First Nations in exchange for beaver pelts. I’ve altered the scarf to make it less Olympic and more in keeping with the Hudson Bay Company iconic wool point blanket by replacing a black stripe for indigo. I also changed the sewed on patch for the more recognizable HBC stripes that appeared on this year Olympic collection for team Canada.


The sap from Maple trees to make the syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples living in northeastern North America, and the practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for 70% of the world's output. Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 6% of the global supply. (ref. Wikipedia).

-SOLD by the Fog Forest Gallery