©2018, 22" by 14.5", Watercolour
I have long been fascinated by the Franklin Expedition – the British Navy’s ill-fated attempt to find the North-West Passage in 1845 during which all 129 crewmen perished. This fascination of mine has been renewed in the last few years with the exciting news that Parks Canada has discovered the wrecks of both of the ships from the Expedition: the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror. What’s even more exciting is the fact that both wrecks are in remarkable condition and lie in relatively shallow water, making their exploration that much easier.
If you’ve been following either my Facebook posts or my newsletters in the last few months, you’ll already know that lately I’ve been obsessed with painting real-life objects inside glass vessels. It started with me putting Bill Mason inside a mason jar in my painting “Canadian Mason,” and was explored most recently with “Viking Spirits” in which I painted a Viking boat inside a bottle on a cobble-stone beach.
It was as I was painting this last one that it occurred to me that I should do something similar with the ships from the Franklin Expedition. I envisioned that each ship would be frozen in ice within its respective bottle, and both bottles would be sitting on a rocky beach somewhere on King William Island in the Canadian Arctic.
I pulled out my books on the subject, dusted them off and started to refresh my memory as to the details of the men’s final days. As I delved into things, and expanded my research to include online resources, I discovered some pictures of Crozier’s Landing, the rocky beach where the men gathered as they abandoned the ships in a desperate attempt to walk south out of the Canadian arctic to salvation. This seemed like exactly the beach I had been looking for, and it is what I used for the background. The fact that those rocks are out of focus owing to the fact that I had to enlarge a small picture to work from, only seems to draw more attention to the bottles and their contents.
There have been precious few documents found from the expedition over the years. On one search of a campsite that the Franklin men had used not long after they had disappeared, the searches found a tiny scrap of paper with only two words written on it: “until called.” I have been haunted by these words since I first read about them having been found, trying to figure out what the rest of the sentence was that they belonged to. So, it made sense to name the painting after the truncated phrase.
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.