Friday, October 10, 2014

OTTAWA - a new painting!

Good Friday, friends!!!!
As you know (of you are a loyal reader - and hey…why wouldn't you be??) I have been working on new works for The Ottawa Art Expo

The Ottawa Art Expo opens with the Gala on Friday Oct 24th, then runs from
SATURDAY OCTOBER 25 and SUNDAY OCTOBER 26 from 10 am to 5pm

It all happens at the ST. ELIAS CENTRE at 750 Ridgewood Avenue, Ottawa
(Free Parking and Admission)

Well….here it is….the centrepiece of my booth. It is one of my 'Sign of the Times' paintings.
I wanted it to be about Ottawa, in the same way that my Toronto neighbourhood paintings are about my city. But I have to admit I really struggled with it at first.
You see, my work is very authentic to me.
What I mean, is I ONLY paint things that are part of my world, that affect me, that interest me and that I LOVE. But, I haven't been to Ottawa in 30 years, (see the photos HERE of my last trip) so I honestly know NOTHING about the city. YIKES!
So I started by asking a client (THANKS MARY) about the city, then I hit the Book of Face to get my 'friends' takes on the city. Then I hunkered down and did some research and some drawings.
What I found was that I couldn't just sum up the whole city with one piece.
So I went with the obvious…..

"Ottawa", Acrylic on Canvas, 36" x 24"
Yes, I know it may seem a little overdone, but the focus of my piece is the Parliament buildings.
They are iconic, and beautiful and worth celebrating! I just thought they would be fun to paint, but I wanted something else in the composition. Something that 'softened' the architecture a bit…so I added the tulips. For those of you who are as ignorant as me…..get hip to this bit of Canadian history….

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a tulip festival, held annually in May in Ottawa. The festival is the world's largest tulip festival, displaying over one million tulips!

Well, in 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during Second World War. The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of international territory, so that she would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.

CRAZY story, huh? And there are LOADS of interesting little historical facts about the area!
The more I researched the more I was consistently discovering fascinating bits of history - that I had no idea about…..let's face it -- I am not exactly book smart! ;-)
So that was the reason that I put the tagline 'who says history is dull' on the bottom!
It summed up my feelings about how cool all the Canadian history in Ottawa is!
Initially my painting was going to be fairly mono-chromatic - like it was an antique……but after I realized that dull can also refer to colour - I decided to eject a LOT of colour into the piece.
I also added some Canadian geese!
At the end I gave it some 'aging' which as you know, is my FAVOURITE part!
The results are pretty great, I think!!
What do you think?
Yes….I will eventually be creating prints of this…..but for now, let's enjoy this original composition!
Well Ottawans and former Ottawans? 
What say you?
(You know I am actually only looking for compliments here, right? ;-)


  1. Love love love it Rob! Glad you went with this story as this will be very popular!!! I definitely want a print, I may even need one for a friend :). I love Canadian history and Ottawa history too - it's not dull :).

  2. Thanks Mary! I am thrilled with how it turned out.....and I appreciate you pointing me in the right direction! I'll let you know when I get prints! :-)