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.
I finished painting this today:
Roughly 10,500 years old, the projectile point was found in Cambridge, Ontario. It is made from Onondaga chert which comes in quite a range of colors (see a different Onondaga chert point here).
As described in my previous post, this is Canada’s 2012 Lucky Loonie, a circulating one dollar coin (the reverse side of which I designed). According to this news report, it was unveiled at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and distributed to all of Canada’s 2012 Olympic athletes as a good luck charm (see photo here). Apparently, a loonie buried at center ice at the 2002 Olympic hockey games brought good luck to Canada’s men’s and women’s teams. Thereafter, the Royal Canadian has produced a special circulation coin for each Olympic games. Five million of these special 2012 loonies are out there!
One of the Mint’s commercials featuring the lucky loonie is here.
A Mint representative talks about the coin on CTV Morning Live here, although he describes the loon as taking off in flight when in fact it is doing a territorial display.
Another news segment about the coin is here.
Update August 13: My local newspaper, The Record, published an article about myself and the coin here today.