The commissioner of this market scene was a vendor who wanted a remembrance of this place where he had spent many enjoyable hours. It was important that I include certain other vendors as well as a strong Mennonite theme.
The focus of this painting, circa 1920, is the familys dairy wagon. The site was the homestead on the present Ottawa Street, Kitchener. A big-box centre now replaces this farmyard. It was also important to the family that I include their 1917 Auburn near the house. This painting was made very special for me when the wife of the man who received the painting told me this, I have been married to this man for well over 60 years and this is only the second time that I have seen him cry. Clearly this painting brought back many more memories than I could have imagined. I was happy that my piece was so well received as these people have been collectors of my work for over 30 years.
The title, The Golden Staircase, springs from the price tag of the actual stonework which was extensive and expensive. This beautiful home is on the Lake of Bays in the Muskoka area of Ontario. As a surprise, I included the owner of the property sitting on the deck looking out over the lake. It is fun for me to include some unexpected item in a painting. If these people had any objection to my bolt out of the blue, I could have easily painted him out.
This painting was commissioned by the son of this store-keeper, and was designed to show the humanity of this couple who spent many years tending this cigar store. Located near the Kitchener train station at the corner of Water and Victoria streets, the store really was their home and many friends visited them there. Not long after this painting was unveiled, the old man died and this painting was shown by his casket. I was flattered that the family thought it worthy.
In the early part of the Twentieth Century, my grandfather was a well-known breeder of Shorthorn cattle, a dual purpose milk and beef breed imported from Scotland. I show his farm on Fischer-Hallman Road in Waterloo with these prize cattle. Although the farmhouse still exists, the farm is no longer there, and the breed of cattle has all but disappeared. I painted this family history piece for use on my autobiography, “Picture Maker”.
This most personal commission combines several of the commissioners passions into one piecethe antique car, an English canal boat, their dog, and his home village. Each aspect of this piece demanded special attention and presented a very real challenge to weld into a unit.
A woman brought me some photos of a village someplace in Northern England. Having just returned from a vacation there, she wanted something that would capture the romance of this riverside dwelling. I seldom have painted from another persons photos, preferring instead to decide the angles and viewpoint myself on the spot.