Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Easel in the Colville House, Sackville

12 x 16", acrylic on mounted gessoed birch panel
painting #258, 2017

In 2016, Mount Allison University was the recipient of a generous donation from the family of the late Alex Colville, gifting the entire content of his art studio as he left it at the time of his passing. A variety of easels, furniture, artefacts and art supplies now have a new home in the Colville House located at 76 York Street in Sackville, NB.  It was in this house that Alex Colville with his wife Rhoda raised their four children and lived from 1949 to 1973. Colville was a professor with the Fine Arts Faculty at Mount Allison University from 1946 to 1963. They continued living in the house for another decade after he left his teaching position prior to moving to Wolfville, NS. The original studio in the Colville House was located on in the attic, a tight space with a 6 ft head clearance. It is here that he painted many of his best known work, including To Prince Edward Island (1965) that graces the cover of the book in my composition. This book was published in 2014 by Goose Lane Edition in Fredericton, NB in conjunction with a major lifetime retrospective exhibition of his work organized and held at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), then later at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Photos taken at the Colville House, July 26, 2017

The Tasco binoculars belonged to my late father Raymond and are the exact same model as in To Prince Edward Island. I've been wanting to paint these binoculars for at least a decade. I grew up in Cap-Lumière, NB along the Northumberland Strait. On a clear day, we could see PEI even without binoculars. After I acquired the book all I needed was the proper setting. When my wife and I visited the Colville House last summer, the whole narrative came to me. I would return a few weeks later with book and binoculars in hand to do a quick photo session. This painting is an homage to two men who greatly influenced my life and my art.   

Alex Colville in his Wolfville studio, 1984.
Still image from "Order and Splendor" 
National Film Board of Canada
Click HERE to view the documentary 

My wife and I visited Toronto two months ago to visit the city and attend Art Toronto. While exiting the Princess of Wales Theatre after attending the play ''The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" we came across Alex Colville's Star on the Canadian Walk of Fame located on King Street. 

This painting is available from the Fog Forest Gallery in Sackville, NB, located 650m from the Colville House. 

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

Monday, December 18, 2017

Et Hergé créa Tintin

Acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminium panel, 14 x 11''
painting #257, 2017

This painting was inspired after viewing the exhibition, Hergé à Québec held at le Musée de la Civilisation in Québec City in late September. Last year we had planned to visit le Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve, 32 km outside of Brussels but our bus tour was cancelled at the last minute when my wife and I were they only ones who had booked on that day. Everything happens for a reason, so if we can't go to the museum.....let the museum come to us. 

This travelling exhibition was organized by le Musée Hergé. After stops in Paris, London and Geneva, the city of Québec was honoured and excited to host the show for a five month stint. Hergé à Québec was seen by 420,593 visitors, breaking the record for the most ticket sold in the museum's 30 year history. 

Hergé meets Andy Warhol in NYC, 1972

The exhibition explores the world of Georges Rémi, the talented Belgian born artist known as Hergé who created Tintin and other comic strips. Among the show's treasures was of a selection of valuable documents and artefacts of his life, original drawings, storyboards, 3D-models, illustration art from his early artistic career, a selection of his own private art collection and a mural of books of The Adventures of Tintin translated in 70 languages.

Mural of The Adventures of Tintin books

Model of the Rocket featured in two books

In this composition the museum plan and exhibition leaflets were the jump off points that ignited the narrative. A wonderful picture of Hergé by Belgian photographer Robert Kayaert (1920-2007) graced the covers of both.  The small figurines of Tintin and Milou (Snowy) were eBay purchases I had acquired a few years ago who were waiting in the wings, while a set of pencils were purchased at the Museum Gift Shop upon exiting the exhibition, unsuspecting that they would soon appear in a painting. The background imagery is from the book, Musée Hergé with preparatory drawings and final illustration for Tintin in Tibet. The book was a Christmas gift from my wife two years ago purchased that same fall at le Salon du Livre in Shippagan, NB (Book Fair). 

Selfie at le Musée de la Civilisation, Québec

The painting will be on display at Galerie de Bellefeuille in Montreal in early December, 2017.