Ottawa Reflections


Dimensions 30 × 40 in


When you live on Vancouver Island, Ottawa becomes a mythical place 3 time zones away.   Forget the parliament buildings I wanted to see the National Gallery to view the Rhiopelles and Tom Thompsons depiction  of the Beaver Pond which I later did my rendition on location in oils.   Beaver  ponds are everywhere in Canada.  The famous top hat made of beaver pelt opened up Canada.   The Beaver “kits” learning how to swim was an annual event in the swamp in back of Cumberland where I bought my first house in 1981.   The venerable beaver is on the Canadian coat of arms not the queen or King George who somehow lost his marbles and the American Colonies.

I did get to Ottawa with one of my ex wives, her father an Anglican Priest lived at Chaffey’s Lock on the Rideau Canal.    The lesson was never marry an Anglican Priest daughter dressed in a mini skirt.  Its a trap, she turned into an alpha female.  It was my  father’s fault, he introduced us he was quite taken with her.  She had that manufactured look that men fell for.

Each female and there were seven, 3 marriages and 4 common law taught me important lessons.   She set up both my companies, was great at marketing and my sales ballooned to  $225,000 an unheard of number for a Canadian artist.  I had taken early retirement  from teaching at North Island College so had to provide for this high end tomato, a tomato because she had red hair.  I was shipping painting world wide as Vancouver Island is popular.  I only had two damaged paintings one in Japan and one in Atlanta, Georgia.

In my depiction of the Parliament building it is the reflection on the Ottawa River.   My Anglican Priest, father in law knew the terrain and positioned me on this  hilltop to get the dramatic view depicted in the painting..   I have travelled all over the world, 26 cruises in 10 years and I’m quick at choosing the right motif, the right angle usually the highest point of view in order to get the best perspective.    It helped to be visiting in the Fall as the colours of the Ontario Maple were in their full glory.

I remember painting Whistler in the fall and some brilliant landscape architect had planted Ontario Maples throughout the townsite.  What a glorious contrast to the coniferous forest.  This kind of forethought has made Whistler a major tourist attraction and home of the 1910 Winter Olympics.

80% of the opportunities I have had as an artist don’t lead to wealth and fortune.  This was true of my Ontario paintings.  I connected with a multi millionaire Toronto business man who had sold 3 furniture stores for $9 million dollars and wanted to get into the art business.  Unfortunately he got distracted by an Asian beauty from Hong Kong  who was a gold digger and he was willing to be fleaced.  He also  had the cash hoard to do it.

However I did get to relive my many years  in Ontario while painting the pictures.  When you painting a picture you are  there reliving the joy of that experience.  It comes alive in your imagination.    My years in North  Bay Ontario and Trenton ON and later Chaffey,s Lock are firmly embedded in my mind waiting to be awakened.   A painting at a certain point takes on a life of its own.  You have certain parameters but the end product is unknown.  That is part of the creativity.  That’s why even if you do a series on a subject which is the way we were trained in art school, each painting speaks in a different voice.