8"x10" oil on sealed masonite
When I was a child my father was big on travel. Not the airplane kind of travel, but the pack up the van and drive kind of travel. Dad had a lot of vacation time, it seemed, after many years working with Mack Trucks in Toronto and he primarily aimed to travel to his home province of New Brunswick. We did that trip at least every year till I was 16 and opted out. By the time I was able to get my drivers lic I was hooked on drive travel thoroughly.
One of the trips he took us on included the West Coast and the glorious rockies. I will never forget it.
This painting embodies that memory and presents it to you to enjoy with me such a great experience.
There are days when I don't feel like much of an artist. Today was one of them.
approx 12" x 14" oil on sealed pine panel.
Today a dream came true for this artist.
It is no secret that we all need affirmation from time to time. No matter how confident we feel about our work there is always room for a little bit of encouragement. Artists are known for their torment and struggle. In some ways I am no different. I have painted all of my life and most of those years were pretty thankless. Perhaps there are many reasons for that, perhaps my work was never good enough.
I recall as child being in the Brampton Civic Center Library and seeing an oil painting on the wall near the front desk. I remember it like it was yesterday. A painting of a barn on a hill with stormy clouds behind it. I used to stare at that painting for many reasons not the least was for wondering who this artists was and how did his painting come to be selected for this such a prominent and well exposed location. Practically everyone goes to the library at one time or another, with kids, to do homework, to research, to view historical records, etc, etc, etc. Now a days even more people have reason to go to their local library due to the embrace of the tech age, the inclusion of computers for the public to have access.
Recently a very faithful client of mine mentioned her desire to establish a memorial to her passed parents. It should be in a very public space where all can see. There were ideas discussed for this proposal but the one that seemed to really strike a chord with her was a large painting of yours truly. Some communications were passed back and forth and two months later I am so delighted to have one of my largest paintings permanently hanging in the grand foyer of the very beautiful Whitby Central Library. Besides the pleasure I get from seeing it there I can also know that my children will be able to see it there and show their children one day long into the future.
It is a privilege to be an artist. Even more so to be a full time artists. These are both dreams fulfilled in my life. Having paintings all around the CN Tower rotating restaurant is quite a privilege as well, to be sure, but now to see my painting up there in the Library in my home town of Whitby, Ontario, that’s full circle for me.
The Lost Boys
How could such innocent ones be so poorly mistreated, right here in Canada?
So just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. That was the famous line attributed to the movie “Jaws”. The residence of Providence were just beginning to feel that the monster shark threat was gone forever. Old wounds were starting to heal, and life was good, again.
Well for the survivors of Canada’s infamous Residential Schools life was never good to begin with. Perhaps life was good when the children were still at home with their natural parents on or off reserves. Things certainly turned ugly the day the Government agreed with the Priests and school boards that the “Natives” needed to have the “Indian” taught out of them. In the very first place “Indian” was a derogatory reference to the proud First Nations Peoples of this land, but that is another entirely dedicated topic to be blogged about another time. For now I want to express my grief and shame over the latest chapter of the neglected and badly abused children who were pulled yelling and screaming from their natural parents homes and hauled off to far away remote residential school buildings that would scar them for life.
So much has been said and written on the topic, and I cannot even scratch the surface with my blog, but just when we thought we had heard the worst, just when after years of waiting the Government of Canada finally gave the seemingly sincere apology, we now are learning about a deepening and further element to the tragedy.
I’m watching my regular late night news cast that rhymes with the BBC, and the lead story is about how it has come to light that children from the residential schools who were malnourished were elected as candidates for the experimentation of vitamins and treatments by Government and big pharma labs.
Look, lets think about this: You wake up early in the morning and help your wife, or visa versa to feed the kids breakfast and get them off to school. You have a bite to eat yourself and then you hop into your car and drive on down the highway to your Government office where you are on a team of scientists who are developing new vitamin to help children who are in need of nutritional intervention. Oh, there’s one small catch here, your job involves using Aboriginal children on that Residential school house out on the outskirts of town, using them as your lab rats. Oh that’s ok, those children have no feelings, nor do they have hearts and minds like your own white children. For some reason you have learned to discount their little lives and bodies as being non human. Or have you? How is it possible that you have become so numb to the effects of your ignorance and pain inflicted on these poor young children caused by your own hand? How is it possible that you can come home to your own children at night and not feel shame for what you have done all day?
I am reminded of the Nazi monsters who used young Jewish children in even worse ways within the death camps, some of those monsters lived with their families in homes attached to the outer walls of the death camps. Living true Doctor Jeckle and Mr Hyde lives every day.
Today in our society there are living amongst us Nazi Monsters whose identities are forgotten or well hidden. We are angry and sickened by them but some how we allow them to walk as free men. The same can be said for the monsters who either designed, allowed or even implemented the use of experiments on the already neglected bodies of the children of OUR residential schools. Ours because OUR Government set the wheels in motion for such shame. I say with finger firmly shaking in the air, SHAME on you! Shame on your Government, Shame on you doctors, shame on you teachers employed within the walls of the buildings of such pain, and more than any SHAME on you who implemented the terrible treatments that have scared those young lives, many of whom are alive (barely) and having to live with the memory of you and what you did to them. To you who participated in the implementation of such tragedy, you have only God to answer to and your own conscience.
My mother once said that when there is an person with substance abuse issues there is probly a person within them who has great trauma they cannot deal with. Many Aboriginals live on our streets and under our bridges because their lives have become victim to the pattern of abuse which was so badly inflicted on them by our leaders and teachers and persons of supposed respectable titles in days gone by. For me I choose not to look down on the out casts of the First Nations, I choose to look to them with support and love, and compassion. I extend from my heart to theirs the feather of peace and healing. God never intended for them to be hurt. I am certain beyond a doubt that God’s own heart is broken over the use of his own name to further the pain of those little children.
May we as Canadians have compassion. May we offer broken hearts to those surviving victims. May we offer hope with the promise never to allow such things to ever happen again within our borders.
May there be no more Lost Boys or girls again.
May God help us.
Read more about this:
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.