top of page

"Elziver’s Retirement"
©2018, 22" by 14.5", Watercolour

In the summer of 2017, my friend Bruce Gravel posted a most excellent picture of a dry-docked boat to Facebook. As he tells the story, he took the image at great personal risk because he was on a tour in a small town in Alaska where the bear population of the area vastly outnumbers that of the human inhabitants, and the armed tour group had left him behind while he hurriedly snapped a few quick pics without even stopping to check to see if the images had worked out.

The moment I saw the image, I fell in love with it, and immediately wanted to do a painting of it. I made a mental note to ask him about it the next time I saw him.

As luck would have it, I didn't have to find him, because he found me. At one of my shows later that summer, he and his wife Frances approached me to ask if I'd be interested in interpreting the photograph as a painting. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, trying to make it seem like it was their idea all along.

They told me that, as far as they were concerned, I was free to do what I wanted with it. Since it's a near-perfect picture in and of itself, I knew that there was nothing I could do to add to it if I did a straight interpretation, so I decided to try and have some fun with it.

I'd had such a great time with my recent painting of Canadian Mason, in which I placed the tiny figure of a paddler inside a mason jar, that I opted to do something similar. I decided to make it seem like the boat was inside a bottle which was on display on a bookshelf. 

The first step in planning the painting was to choose and appropriate bottle (I needed something fairly stout and interesting), and then to build a little wooden base for it out of oak. Once that was done, I placed them together on my bookshelf with some old-looking books in the background, lit the whole thing appropriately (there's a candle off-camera on the left which accounts for the warm light from that direction), and took a picture on an angle that would match the boat.

Next, I pulled Bruce's original image into photoshop, removed the background, and placed it "into" the bottle. I used this as the source image from which to paint.

As I was painting it, I realized that the opening of the bottle, which loomed large since it was close to the foreground, was just begging for something more. That’s when it occurred to me that it would be neat to have a tiny figure of a fisherman relaxing there while reading a book. When it came to naming this old salt - and the painting itself in turn - I took inspiration from one of the books in behind him. One of my favourite books as a child was “Moonfleet”, and the name of one of the heroes was “Elziver”. It seemed like the perfect name for an old fisherman.

Elziver's Retirement


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.


Paper Reproductions

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.


Stretched Canvases

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.

bottom of page