©2022, Watercolour, 17” by 15”
This painting, of a 1946 nickel with the beaver design rendered as real, is the ninth (and final) painting in my nine-part polyptych.
You may be wondering why I named the painting the way I did. It's because no other animal has shaped our national identity the way the beaver has. In the beginning, it was the primary reason that the Hudson's Bay Company came into existence (Europeans loved their fur hats), but it has endured symbolically since then. From our country's icons, to our deep-fried snack foods, and even to its euphemisms, the beaver has been at the very core of what it means to be Canadian. In 1975, it was officially adopted as a symbol of Canada.
Appropriately, the Canadian nickel has a complicated history.
When the beaver design was introduced in 1937, the coin was round. Then, in 1942, with nickel being in short supply because of the war effort, the Canadian mint used Tomac, a type of brass instead and, because this made the coin look so much like a penny, the mint differentiated it by making it twelve-sided. The silvery looking coin with the beaver and the twelve sides didn't see the light of day until 1946 and became round again in 1963. Since I'll always think of the nickel being twelve-sided, that's the way I painted it.
Finally, no discussion of the beaver would be complete without ending it with the phrase: "For a more complete story of the beaver, why not contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa."
The Canadian Coin Polyptych
In case you’re unaware, a polyptych is a painting with multiple parts or panels. The most common form of this being the “triptych,” a painting with three parts arranged in close proximity on a wall.
My polyptych will include nine paintings (check out the plan included as one of the preview images on this page), eight of which will portray a Canadian coin with the image on its back painted to look like it’s real (are you surprised to learn that the side of the coin without the head of state is the “back” of the coin? Well, you’ve just learned something new today (two things if you didn’t know what a polyptych was (three if you didn’t know you could nest parentheses three sets deep))).
The individual paintings will be tied together by the common barnwood background as well as a large red maple leaf, parts of which will extend into some of the other individual paintings. As such, the only way to see the polyptych in its entirety is to assemble all of the nine parts in the correct configuration. When complete, the concatenated image will measure over 5 feet by 4 feet!
Reproductions of my art are available printed either on paper or canvas. Both formats are signed by me, the artist, and are high quality, full-colour prints of a high resolution scan or photograph of the original painting. All prints are inspected to ensure that the colours match the source and created using inks that are guaranteed to resist both fading and UV light.
These are printed on high quality paper to give them the look and feel of the original painting. In terms of the dimensions listed, please keep in mind that they are approximate. Since I custom mat and frame the prints myself, I reproduce them at specific sizes so that when they are matted to standard matting dimensions, the mat-board borders are consistent widths on all sides. It’s because of this that I highly recommend that you upgrade to the matted version (seriously, go do it now).
Now, if you've ordered a print that is not a standard sized when matted, then I highly recommend that you go back and order it in a frame. As described in the sister section Frames, I do all my own framing using reclaimed wood and am affordable.
If you want to avoid matting and framing altogether, then I suggest that you order the canvas option. I stretch the canvases myself using reclaimed wood and, with a profile that is an inch and a half thick, the art will make a strong statement on your wall.