© 2021, Watercolour, 14.5” by 22”
Only about a year and a half in, and the 2020s have been a time of serious reflection for Canadians.
The last two federal holidays (Canada Day and the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) were subdued affairs with many of us using them as opportunities to reflect on what it means to be Canadian, especially in the light of the identification of so many child graves on the sites of former residential schools. It has never been more obvious that we are a country with a complicated history with our Indigenous Peoples, and many of us are finally realizing that, although we were not personally involved in the historical efforts to brutally displace and assimilate them, we have each of us in some way benefitted from it. How can we possibly make amends?
So, yes, a lot to think about.
That’s what I found myself doing recently on the morning of our country’s first NDTR holiday—reflecting. And, since I tend to be a very literal person, I decided to turn these reflections into a painting of an actual reflection – with a twist.
The painting I’m calling (appropriately) Canadian Reflection has two halves juxtaposed against each other on a white background. From above, a bough of green maple leaves is reflected in invisible water from beneath, but it is not an exact reflection. Instead of mirroring the green of the leaves, the turbulent water shows those leaves in two of the main colours representing Indigenous issues: Orange and Red. (The former for NDTR and the latter in observance of missing and murdered Indigenous women). In fact, all four of the sacred colours are present in the reflection: black, red, yellow, and white.
What’s more, the water that is creating the reflection is made to look like it’s in a rolling boil. This is meant to symbolize the growing anger at the injustices that continue to be inflicted on our First Nations, even in today’s “woke” society.
Both elements of the painting are meeting in the middle though, symbolic of how we’re making steps towards reconciliation. You’ll notice how, where the green leaf touches the red one, the waters have begun to calm.
Now, for the elephant in the room: the odd symbols on the ripples.
I’ll be honest. I’m not quite sure where they came from. I wasn’t trying to replicate Indigenous artforms, they’re just what appeared when I interpreted my source image. I was tempted to tone them down a little, but was too amazed at how they seemed to form all by themselves. I’m pretty sure that each person will see the shapes differently, but I see several animals (turtles, birds, snakes, fish) as well as human elements like hands and, of course, eyes.
So, to return to a subject I mentioned earlier: how then to make amends?
I don’t have the answer to that, but I can tell you that I’ve decided to direct all of the profits from the sale of this painting to an appropriate organization or charity. I’m sorry that I can’t tell you which one yet, as I’m still doing my research, but once I get it sorted out, I’ll post the information here.
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.