This year’s SONSI exhibit takes place at the Richview Public Library in Toronto. I will have five works in this exhibit, including the black crappie featured in the publicity image above. The reception is open to the public – so consider this your invitation!
Once the exhibit opens, an online catalog will be available at sonsi.ca.
The Royal Canadian Mint released a 65 mm diameter fine silver coin last month featuring a beaver family that I illustrated:
To date, this is the largest coin I’ve illustrated and it’s neat to see my drawing engraved in such detail. If you click on the photo you can see a larger image; note the texture of the tail and bite marks on the tree. The booklet that comes with the coin describes the scene as “a portrait of a beaver family, its members immersed in the work of felling trees for their dam, lodge, and food cache.” That’s certainly true about the beaver on the left side of the coin. To be precise, the yearling and the kit on the right side of the coin are feeding, not helping with the household chores. The other parent is in the background. Below is a photo with slightly different lighting that more clearly shows the fourth beaver swimming in front of the lodge in the background.
Beavers are fascinating animals and I was happy to have the opportunity to learn more about them as preparation for this illustration. You can see this 2.5 inch diameter coin at the Mint’s website here.
At the time of this writing, the website does not reflect the fact that the low mintage coin is sold out.
I recently completed this painting of an artifact, done with gouache paint on hot press watercolor paper:
The birdstone was found in a farmer’s field in Southern Ontario during an archaeological survey earlier this year. It is an incredible sculpture, painstakingly carved from brown and black banded slate long before the existence of power tools (circa 900-700 BC). You can see that the sculptor used the contours of the banding to emphasize the features of the bird in a remarkable way. Notice how the eye bulges right where the bands form a circle, and how the edges of the bird closely follow the edges of the bands. (The opposite side of the birdstone is equally amazing). Drilled into the bottom of the bird are two places where one could thread a cord to attach the bird to something; you can see one of the holes at the front of the birdstone, right next to the copyright watermark. I can’t help but wonder about who carved it and how he or she used this beautiful stone sculpture.
Pictured above and below is another interpretive sign that I illustrated at the Huron Natural Area. It’s the same illustration as the one installed on the Forest Trail earlier this year, but this one doesn’t have an answer key to all of the animals and plants one can find in the illustration.
Also recently installed at the Huron Natural Area is this interpretive sign with my illustrations of a meadow and some meadow life.
Like the forest illustration, the meadow scenery is based on the landscape at the Huron Natural Area, and in this case you can see the actual landscape right behind the sign (though it’s in a different season now).
As with all of the interpretive sign illustrations I’ve created for the City of Kitchener, these were done with graphite and digital color, and the City did the layout and typography.
The City of Kitchener recently installed two new interpretive signs along the Grand River Walter Bean Trail near Kitchener’s Doon Valley Golf Course. (The nearest access point is the golf course parking lot. To see the signs, head west along the clearly marked trail until you cross the river over the new iron bridge).
These signs feature illustrations I completed earlier this year. One sign (below) is about a settlement of Mohawk and Mississauga peoples along Ontario’s Grand River in the early 1800s. The main illustration shows women returning from their agricultural fields, located across the river from their homes. Included in the lower right corner of the sign is an illustration showing one of the artifacts archaeologists found at the site – a silver ring brooch – and how the brooch might have been used. As the text on the sign reads, “The archaeological evidence at the site tells the tale of a people who adopted only those elements of European culture that they saw as useful, while retaining many of their ancient traditions.”
The other sign (below) shows a more hypothetical settlement along the flats of the Grand River roughly A.D. 500 to 1000. Archaeologists named this culture “Princess Point” after the location in Ontario where the first evidence of this culture came to light. The main illustration shows a family in the midst of their daily activities on a late September day.
At the sign’s lower right are two illustrations of artifacts found along the Grand River not too far from where the signs are – a projectile point (see previous post) and a large pot. Archaeologists found the pot in pieces and painstakingly glued the pieces back together. Below is a photo of the reconstructed pot; I was fortunate to be able to borrow it for a while in order to illustrate it. What’s interesting about this pot – in addition to its beautiful form and extensive ornamentation – is that the people who made it so long ago repaired the pot after it broke in two. They must have valued it enough to drill holes in a few places so they could bind the pieces together with twine. Unless they filled the holes and cracks with some sort of pitch, it seems the pot would only have been used to hold dry goods. It is an impressive 38.5 cm tall.
My illustration of a pronghorn antelope ended up on the fifth in a series of six silver bullion wildlife coins. The Royal Canadian Mint released this one last month; it is available globally from bullion distributors. (Locally, you can find it at Colonial Acres Coins). You can read more about it here. The coin is 38 mm in diameter.
Recently installed interpretive signs in Kitchener’s Huron Natural Area use my illustrations to help educate the public about the local environment.
I created the illustrations by making detailed graphite drawings, scanning the drawings, and digitally adding layers of color underneath them. The forest illustration in the second photograph includes a range of animal and plant life found right there in the Huron Natural Area.