Canadian Fine Art
November 13 — 18, 2021
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET
Studio 21 Fine Art Gallery, Halifax, N.S.;
Private Collection, Nova Scotia
We recognized this painting fondly as “one of dad’s bowls.” My brother and I are intimately familiar with the themes in our father’s work, and his bowl series is as prominent in our psyche as his boat ones. In a rare moment here, they are both represented in this piece.
He was interested in the idea of water; the interplay between open oceans, versus constrained canals. This idea also serves as a metaphor for life; the free flow of something being shaped and guided, by forms and boundaries. The bowl and the boat were vessels to explore this theme.
Looking at where the bowl and boat live in this painting, the nature of place in our dad’s work came up. He had an ability to create imagined architectural structures that beautifully guide water, light, and mood. I remember reading C.S Lewis’ Magician's Nephew for the first time as a child, and discovering the wood between the worlds; a sublime orchard filled with ponds that led to other worlds. Because these other worlds were often volatile, this orchard in comparison was a refuge. I was immediately reminded of the places in dad’s paintings, and more broadly, in his life. He created places you wanted to go.
A skilled carpenter, he built homes and studios that became oases of creativity and safety, visitors always eager to stop by. Inside these places, it smelled of fresh coffee and oil paint. Always a nook around the corner where you could take a nap to refresh the mind. In the evenings, a surprisingly cozy meal simmered on the old metal camping stove; Studio Stew (a can of pea soup improvised with some chopped ham and potato, and whatever else he could find).
He also created this kind of space in his life, where the art’s community he loved had a place to come, to talk, to rest. Neighbours, friends, students. He made time.
The flow of water, the flow of life, being pulled and pushed by the structures and pathways we build for ourselves. It’s how you build those structures that make life worth living. And he was a master builder. This painting was a nice reminder of that.
Anna Hopkins is an actor and screenwriter based in Toronto, and Jacob Hopkins is a photographer, carpenter and film tech based in Montreal. Whenever they can, they love to collaborate together. Waddington’s would like to thank Jacob and Anna for contributing this essay.
Very good condition.
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