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