The Casa Mia landscaping plan, dated 1932-1933, by Ross A. Lort, assisted by James Bisset. This past weekend, I took in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage House Tour, and Casa Mia was on the program! Sensational! Here’s my photoset. This illustration appears in the conservation plan by Donald Luxton & Associates, and is available here via the City of Vancouver website. 
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com with alternate text.

The Casa Mia landscaping plan, dated 1932-1933, by Ross A. Lort, assisted by James Bisset. This past weekend, I took in the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Heritage House Tour, and Casa Mia was on the program! Sensational! Here’s my photoset. This illustration appears in the conservation plan by Donald Luxton & Associates, and is available here via the City of Vancouver website

Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com with alternate text.

The Fraser Wilson Mural at the Maritime Labour Centre on Triumph Street in Vancouver. I finally made my pilgrimage out to see this mural first hand at the Got Craft fair this past weekend. And what better surroundings than an auditorium filled with crafters, makers, and artists! Fraser Aldwyn Wilson would be proud. 

This work is a monumental treasure; there aren’t many like it, and this piece is probably Fraser Wilson’s most significant work. We’re lucky to have it for many reasons; it was almost painted over, and had it not been relocated and/or painted over, it would have been destroyed by fire! The Pender Auditorium burnt to the ground in July of 2003.

The Maritime Labour Centre’s website tells us more about the mural’s history:

This mural depicting the mid-1940s British Columbia Industrial scene was originally painted on the wall of the Pender Auditorium by Fraser Wilson in 1947.

The building, owned by the Marine Workers and Boiler Makers, Industrial Union Local 1 until its sale in 1969, was at the time the center of trade union activity in Vancouver. It was not until the Pender [Auditorium] was to paint over the mural, and after it had changed owner (who now wanted a white background for divided work areas) that a few individuals including Gary Oliver, BC Teachers’ Federation’s Jim MacFarlan, and Alderman Bruce Yorke, lobbied an application through the 1986 Vancouver Centennial Commission to move and restore the mural for the walls of the newly-built Maritime Labour Centre, the new home of the Vancouver District Labour Council, and several unions including the Boilermakers.

The restored mural was re-dedicated by Fraser Wilson at the opening of the new Maritime Labour Auditorium on January 22, 1988.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating; the mural was painted in 1947, the same year Fraser Wilson spoke out against the newspaper during a bitter strike and he was promptly fired. More details from text originally posted on the Dayton Boot Company website:

Shortly after the company was launched, in 1947 the highly regarded cartoonist of the Vancouver Sun, Fraser Wilson, then president of the newspaper guild (union) spoke out against the Province during a bitter marathon strike. He was fired and told to leave his office and job within the hour.

Sadly, Fraser Wilson never worked another day in the newspaper industry. With his primary source of income lost, Mr. Wilson turned to advertising and art as his primary means of support. Charlie Wohlford and Wayne Wohlford recognized his talent and engaged Fraser Wilson to create catalogues, advertising and cartoons to promote the Dayton Brand.

I also speculate that the mural could very well be one of the first things he endeavored to do after he was fired. Whatever the case, it is magnificent. My photos don’t treat the mural quite as beautifully as the colour corrected/enhanced photograph by Sean Griffin, which I’ve also included above for reference. The colour discrepancies are probably a combination of both the unnatural lighting I was under and the mural’s pigments showing their age.

This brings me to a very important question; does anyone know the whereabouts of the descendants of Fraser Wilson? I would really like to followup with the family and ask them if there is more we can learn of Fraser Wilson’s legacy. To facilitate this, I’ll post a little bit of genealogy here in the hopes it will lead me to the family.

Fraser Aldwyn Wilson
Born July 1, 1905 in Vancouver, BC
Died July 31, 1992 in Burnaby, BC
Father: Adney James Wilson of Drayton, Ontario
Mother: Alexandria McRae of Chicago, Illinois

Fraser Aldwyn Wilson married Sarah Leith Reid on September 7, 1931.

Sarah Leith Reid
Born September 24, 1910 in Greenock, Scotland
Died November 25, 1987 in Burnaby, BC
Father: James McLaughlin Reid of Greenock, Scotland
Mother: Annie Leith of Paisley, Scotland

Fraser and Sarah Wilson had their son Joel J. Wilson some time in the 1930s? According to Sarah Wilson’s obituary in the Province dated November 27, 1987, Joel Wilson married Sally and had 2 daughters Tracy and Kelly, and there were also at least three great-grandchildren. However, I can’t seem to find any more recent information about Joel and Sally Wilson. It’s quite possible that Tracy and Kelly Wilson no longer carry the Wilson name. If anyone has any more information they can provide, please send me a note, and please provide a way to keep in touch. Perhaps there is still more we can learn of Fraser Wilson’s legacy. Thank you all in advance!

On Saturday, April 5, Keith McKellar aka Laughing Hand opened a one man show at the Interurban Art Gallery in Vancouver. The gallery walls were filled with his large formats drawings, meticulously coloured and vibrantly printed, displaying some of the most characteristic establishments ever seen in downtown Vancouver. Many of these drawings were originally conceived for his 2001 book, Neon Eulogy, but in most cases, the drawings have been completely reworked, applying more than a decade of refined technique and skill to bring these scenes to life.

Not everyone can afford to bring home and install a neon sign in their living room, but it is far more feasible to bring home one of these works of art. Highly recommended! The show runs until April 29, 2014.

Marine Building (and Bentall One under construction) by Julius J Dutzi, circa late 1960s (Bentall One was completed in 1967) via ebay. Printed on the back of the canvas:

Born 1920 Karlsruhe Germany, where he received his basic art training.
Immigrated to Canada 1951.
Principally self-taught: paints in several media.
Canadian landscapes, streets, & buildings.
Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, has exhibited in one-man shows, television shows, and in group exhibitions.
His works are owned by collectors throughout Canada, the United States, Germany.

Another nautical watercolour by S.P. Judge, this one of a side-wheeler named SH 91. The painting is dated 1903 which is significant, as that was perhaps the earliest date he exhibited his work in Vancouver, when he was part of a group exhibition with T.W. Fripp and stained glass artist James Blomfield. As Gary Sim has noted in Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950, SP Judge was a founding member of the Vancouver Studio Club where he was one of its art teachers, and he remained an important leader in the city’s artistic community for many years.

This painting is currently offered for sale on ebay. It looks as though it was recently acquired from Birmingham, UK on ebay.co.uk, and it has since been reframed.

As you may recall, SP Judge painted a series of watercolours that once hung in the Union Steamship boardroom. I managed to track down some or all of these paintings, appropriately in the Maritime Museum in Vancouver. Their paintings include the following Union Steamships:

  1. Capilano
  2. Coquitlam
  3. Camosun
  4. Cassiar
  5. Comox
  6. Coulti
  7. Senator
  8. Moonlight

I’ve included an ad that SP Judge placed in the 1907 Westward Ho magazine, offering lessons in drawing, painting, and design from the Hadden Block at the northeast corner of Granville & Hastings Street.

You may also recall this 1906 watercolour which surfaced a year or so ago, but sadly it has not fared as well (I had to digitally restore it to imagine what it may have looked like). Another one of his paintings that I’d really like to see close up is this one from 1919, which sold for $5,500 CAD at Heffel in 2000. I trust whomever acquired it is taking good care of it, perhaps waiting to repatriate it with another work from SP Judge’s portfolio.

Vancouver Confidential, the book cover, painted by artist Tom Carter. I predict this forthcoming book edited by John Belshaw will be one of the most anticipated titles of the year in Vancouver! Full disclosure, I also happen to be contributing a chapter to this book, along with a long list of exceptional local writers and historians.
Tonight at the VPL there is a special event with three of the contributors to the book. See the Facebook event for more details.
https://www.facebook.com/events/726899950674410/

Vancouver Confidential, the book cover, painted by artist Tom Carter. I predict this forthcoming book edited by John Belshaw will be one of the most anticipated titles of the year in Vancouver! Full disclosure, I also happen to be contributing a chapter to this book, along with a long list of exceptional local writers and historians.

Tonight at the VPL there is a special event with three of the contributors to the book. See the Facebook event for more details.

https://www.facebook.com/events/726899950674410/

Jan Kasparec, a culture crawl exhibitor since 2012, is organizing a special fundraising show of his paintings called “Walking with Magic” in support of kids in need from Lord Strathcona Community Elementary School. The show will take place on March 14th, 2014 at studio 420 in 1000 Parker Street Studios.

Seen above is a photograph I took in his 2012 studio during the crawl, where a painting of the Sun Tower was taking shape. Also above is a promo card of the event, and a collection of his local paintings. The Big Green House is another Strathcona landmark situated at the corner of Heatley Ave and E Pender Street, across the street from the Strathcona school playground. For many years it was the studio of Michael Christopher Lawlor.

About the upcoming event, Jan writes:

…I visited Lord Strathcona Elementary School to see if I can be of any help. Connecting with Mr.Jesse Brown, vice-principal of school, made me understand very quickly how much light one person can bring…I would like to invite you my art-show night in support of Lord Strathcona Elementary School. We will start at 7pm and it will be a fun night. I will deliver a speech around 8pm. I never painted as much as during past few months. So I can promise new, hopefully radiant, paintings…& some interesting and entertaining guests.

Getting a peak inside an artist’s studio is always a treat, and since the Culture Crawl only happens once a year, I recommend you jump on this special opportunity to see some art from the heart of East Van, and support the kids of Strathcona Elementary at the same time!

Willie Shoemaker at Exhibition Park, Vancouver, an autographed print drawn by J. Neilly dated May 13, 1985 via ebay. This was Willie’s second visit to Exhibition Park, as described in this 2003 tribute written by the Province writer Tommy Wolski:

During his riding career, Shoe visited Exhibition Park twice. In 1977, the chance to see this living legend lured 11,537 fans to the track. Not only did his fans see him ride, they bet $1,018,306. It was the first million-dollar weeknight in the track’s history.Shoe did not let his admirers down — he won two of four races.His final visit to Vancouver came May 13, 1985. He arrived at Exhibition Park on a rainy night, believing it was only to promote his book, Shoemaker: America’s Greatest Jockey.After visiting the jockey’s room, he learned he was expected to ride in four races. In typical Shoemaker style, he didn’t complain. Instead, Shoe asked if he could borrow some riding gear to fulfill an agreement he had not even made.He borrowed a pair of boots from jockey Mark Walker, riding pants from Dave Mylrea and a saddle from Pat Burton. To while away the time until his first ride, he asked several valets and jockeys if they were interested in playing some cards.While playing, Shoemaker received a phone call from management, requesting him to join them for a small party. He graciously turned them down and continued playing cards until it was time for him to ride.When the night was over, Shoe thanked everyone in the jockey’s room for making him feel at home and said goodbye.Oh, he also autographed Burton’s saddle…

Willie Shoemaker at Exhibition Park, Vancouver, an autographed print drawn by J. Neilly dated May 13, 1985 via ebay. This was Willie’s second visit to Exhibition Park, as described in this 2003 tribute written by the Province writer Tommy Wolski:

During his riding career, Shoe visited Exhibition Park twice. In 1977, the chance to see this living legend lured 11,537 fans to the track. Not only did his fans see him ride, they bet $1,018,306. It was the first million-dollar weeknight in the track’s history.

Shoe did not let his admirers down — he won two of four races.

His final visit to Vancouver came May 13, 1985. He arrived at Exhibition Park on a rainy night, believing it was only to promote his book, Shoemaker: America’s Greatest Jockey.

After visiting the jockey’s room, he learned he was expected to ride in four races. In typical Shoemaker style, he didn’t complain. Instead, Shoe asked if he could borrow some riding gear to fulfill an agreement he had not even made.

He borrowed a pair of boots from jockey Mark Walker, riding pants from Dave Mylrea and a saddle from Pat Burton. To while away the time until his first ride, he asked several valets and jockeys if they were interested in playing some cards.

While playing, Shoemaker received a phone call from management, requesting him to join them for a small party. He graciously turned them down and continued playing cards until it was time for him to ride.

When the night was over, Shoe thanked everyone in the jockey’s room for making him feel at home and said goodbye.

Oh, he also autographed Burton’s saddle…

Sublime; a mixed media group exhibition at the Ferry Building in West Vancouver with Charles Keillor, Thom Kline, and Rich Rawling. The show opened last week and runs until this coming Sunday, February 23, 2014 in the Ferry Building Gallery, at 1414 Argyle Avenue in Ambleside, West Vancouver. The gallery is open free to the public from 11 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.

Seen here is a graphite work by Charles Keillor, showing North Vancouver’s Lynnwood Inn just after it closed for good in 2012, and Watchful Lion 3, a watercolour painting by Rich Rawling, who writes: 

I was weaving my cruiser bike back to the North Shore after a sketching session at Stanley Park’s Second Beach. As I popped out of the forest at the top of the Causeway there they were. Those lions were looking hungry. But instead of sacrificing my carcass to them I took a few photos in the raking afternoon light realizing that these Art Deco masterpieces would be the basis for a few watercolours. I tip my hat to the sculptor who designed the statues…
The sculptor/designer of the Lions was of course, Charles Marega, a most handsome portrait of whom can be seen here, posing with his creation.
Empire of Ice by Craig H. Bowlsby, with cover art illustration by artist and designer Aaron White. As part of the Vancouver Historical Society’s lecture series, Craig will be speaking about the Pacific Coast Hockey Association on Thursday, February 27, 2014, 7:30pm at the Museum of Vancouver.

Vancouver’s only Stanley Cup, won by the Vancouver Millionaires in 1915, was brought about by the foresight, inventiveness and organization of the hockey-playing Patrick brothers. The Patricks achieved this by founding the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) in 1911 and constructing artificial ice arenas in Vancouver and Victoria. The PCHA also brought in the first American teams - Seattle, Portland and Spokane - to fight for the Stanley Cup. Further, their new rules modernized professional hockey and forced a faster game before the Association’s bizarre plummet in 1926. Consequently, the story of the PCHA has become an important part of the hockey story today…

And FYI, I will be speaking on Illustrated Vancouver next month on March 27, 2014; hope to see you there!

Empire of Ice by Craig H. Bowlsby, with cover art illustration by artist and designer Aaron White. As part of the Vancouver Historical Society’s lecture series, Craig will be speaking about the Pacific Coast Hockey Association on Thursday, February 27, 2014, 7:30pm at the Museum of Vancouver.

Vancouver’s only Stanley Cup, won by the Vancouver Millionaires in 1915, was brought about by the foresight, inventiveness and organization of the hockey-playing Patrick brothers. The Patricks achieved this by founding the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) in 1911 and constructing artificial ice arenas in Vancouver and Victoria. The PCHA also brought in the first American teams - Seattle, Portland and Spokane - to fight for the Stanley Cup. Further, their new rules modernized professional hockey and forced a faster game before the Association’s bizarre plummet in 1926. Consequently, the story of the PCHA has become an important part of the hockey story today…

And FYI, I will be speaking on Illustrated Vancouver next month on March 27, 2014; hope to see you there!

Special announcement!

Vancouver Imagined: the Way We Weren’t, a guest curated exhibit (by myself, Jason Vanderhill) officially opens in the studio gallery at the Museum of Vancouver today, Friday, February 7, 2014. The display will feature a collection of reproduction architectural illustrations, as well as a 3-dimensional architectural model from the museum’s permanent collection.

I encourage all to attend; those who are interested in the architectural profession, veterans of the history of the city, and visitors alike should appreciate seeing this alternate history of the city. I’ll have more to say about the show in future posts, and it looks like there will be a curator tour on May the first; here’s the link!

Also take note, the excellent show Play House: The architecture of Daniel Evan White at the MoV has been held over until March 23, 2014! This is now your perfect opportunity to catch two great architecture shows at once!

Very special thanks to all of the illustrators and contributors, to Viviane Gosselin with the Museum of Vancouver, to Matt Heximer of 10four Design Group who designed the show, and everyone else who assisted with its production. I hope you enjoy the exhibit; it was a lot of fun to put together!

jonshawpaintings:

This is a piece I’m working on, that’s about half finished. I’ve got most of the line and colour structure in place, and now I can start giving it a lot of life and volume with shadows and highlights. The image itself is of the Port Metro Vancouver shipping cranes at the foot of Main Street in Downtown Vancouver. It’s a pretty neat and recognizable image, and I’m particularly drawn to all the colour varieties of the cargo containers.

As per Jon’s Facebook page, "Assemblage" is now finished. Watch for it at the Kimoto Gallery in Vancouver.

jonshawpaintings:

This is a piece I’m working on, that’s about half finished. I’ve got most of the line and colour structure in place, and now I can start giving it a lot of life and volume with shadows and highlights. 

The image itself is of the Port Metro Vancouver shipping cranes at the foot of Main Street in Downtown Vancouver. It’s a pretty neat and recognizable image, and I’m particularly drawn to all the colour varieties of the cargo containers.

As per Jon’s Facebook page, "Assemblage" is now finished. Watch for it at the Kimoto Gallery in Vancouver.

Birds’ Eye View of A Proposed Scheme for the University of British Columbia by architect Thomas Hooper, dating back to 1912. Looking like a scaled down version of the Vatican, Hooper’s entry was ultimately rejected in favour of a proposal submitted by Sharp and Thompson. I posted some of those drawings here previously. For more on this drawing and early UBC history, click here and here.

Hooper can take credit for a number of iconic Vancouver buildings which survive to this day; the West Wing of the Provincial Courthouse (now the Art Gallery), the BC Permanent Loan Building, the Winch Building (now part of the Sinclair Centre), and East End Public School (now Strathcona Elementary School). He’s also responsible for St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria, among numerous other notable buildings in the capital and elsewhere. From UVic:

He worked all over BC in Victoria, Vancouver, Revelstoke, Vernon, and Chilliwack focusing on large, public commissions. However, the local economy and Hooper’s business took a sharp decline in 1913. Hooper moved his practice to New York in 1915, but he lost his market again when the United States entered the war…

Along the theme of architectural proposals, renderings, and the unbuilt city, stay tuned for an exciting announcement! More info coming later this week!

Hastings Track (2013) 70”x40” acrylic on canvas by Taralee Guild, available at Art Junction. I first saw this on the 2013 Culture Crawl, and I must say, everything about this canvas is impressive! I took an action shot on Instagram in order to keep the memory of this painting alive, but I recommend you see it in person!

Hastings Track (2013) 70”x40” acrylic on canvas by Taralee Guild, available at Art Junction. I first saw this on the 2013 Culture Crawl, and I must say, everything about this canvas is impressive! I took an action shot on Instagram in order to keep the memory of this painting alive, but I recommend you see it in person!

Paintings by Leef Evans. His work has been exhibited at Gallery Gachet this past year, most notably at the exhibit One Hundred Self-Portraits in One Hundred Days this fall. From his website:

I have no political agenda. I have no historical perspective. I have no social ramifications I’m seeking to address. What I do have is lots of paint and a fat brush. The fat brush and brash gobs of paint don’t permit me to fret or obsess. The fat brush doesn’t allow me to wallow in incidental detail. The fat gobs don’t permit me to remain in one place and burrow into concerns. I move on. I allow for accidents. I revel in movement. I paint accidental psalms. This is what the art does. It moves me into little fugue vortexes. The art, the paint, the brush is the only process…