Towards Stanley Park, a title I’ve given this watercolour painting by Gordon Kit Thorne, CPE, CSPE, FCA. It was Tom Carter who pointed out to me the building in the foreground is Vancouver’s former Customs and Immigration building, previously located where the Convention Centre is now. The painting appears to say “From the Marine Building” in Gordon’s handwriting in the bottom left, along with the date July 13, 1957, and, ehr, 1956 too (it’s got to be one of those two dates!). If you compare the view from the VPL photo 6193 also shown here, you can actually see the shadow of the Marine Building!
Ship in BC Marine Drydock, Vancouver by Orville Fisher. I’m not sure what the date was, but I wonder if it was also dated 1935, the very same year that colleagues Paul Goranson and EJ Hughes each made a print on the shipping trade in Vancouver. I thought it was appropriate to post the past three images in a row, as I just happened to come across these images all at once! Here’s a quote from this article in the Saturday Night Magazine from 1939:
In 1933 Edward Hughes and Orville Fisher graduated from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art and Paul Goranson completed his third year. All three took the drawing and painting course. Fisher and Goranson studied for another year with Fred Varley, one of the Group of Seven, and Hughes also did some post-graduate studying. Then began the heart-breaking grind of trying to paint for a living…
I don’t know where this was reproduced, but if I recall correctly, this reproduction came from the VPL artist file.
Derelict in Coal Harbour, a print by EJ Hughes, from the National Gallery of Canada. This drypoint on buff wove paper was dated 1935, and was a gift of the artist to the gallery. More work from the gallery’s collection here.
Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Vancouver BC, a souvenir plate made in Austria in the very early 1900s. Seen at Horseshoe Coins & Antiques in Blaine, WA, just over the border, a great little antiques shop full of Northwest lore. This item however, was for display only, part of the proprietor’s collection. Changing Vancouver covers the building’s story here; the building only lasted for about 10 years on account of poor quality bricks. Film footage of the station survives in the 1907 film by William Harbeck which you can learn much more about in the City Reflections DVD. Thanks for the photo, Derek!
Vancouver Harbour Panorama, a watercolour by Robert Amos. He writes on his site:
When I opened the curtains in my room in Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, I saw the fabulous view of all the complexity of Vancouver’s harbour and the view to the east. The container port, helipad, harbour ferry and dredging barge were right there for me to contemplate and paint at my leisure.
Robert recently wrote this article for the Times Colonist about Gary Sim’s CD-ROM of British Columbia Artists. Robert is currently artist-in-residence at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, and is in the midst of digitizing and transferring some of his collection of art ephemera to the University of Victoria Library and Archives. Bravo, Robert!
SS Princess Mary 1958 placemat on Flickr. Technically, this is a special Illustrated Victoria feature, starring the former CPR steamship, the SS Princess Mary. From wikipedia:
On March 14, 1911, the Princess Mary made her first trip on the Nanaimo-Comox-Vancouver service.
Among the highlights of Princess Mary’s service was February 15, 1915 when the 30th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) embarked from Victoria, British Columbia sailing to the War in Europe…
She may have lived the end of her life as a restaurant in downtown Victoria, but this 1915 W.J. Moore panoramic photograph at Pier D in Vancouver by brings back the romance of the era. The end of the line for the restaurant is documented in this online thread. And speaking of nautical themed restaurants, many Vancouverites will fondly remember the North Vancouver Ferry # 5 Seven Seas Restaurant. I salvaged something of a historical gemstone last year when I uncovered a videotape featuring a full tour of the Seven Seas Restaurant at the end of its life. Stay tuned; I hope to post it on YouTube some day soon…
I’m very much looking forward to this forthcoming comic set in early Vancouver titled Waterlogged by Cloudscape Comic’s Jeff Ellis. Look closely and you’ll see the Union Steamship Empress of Japan in the first panel!
Here’s a sneak peak of a few of my pages from Waterlogged.
A Vancouver Appliqué by Joan Statz of Joan’s Own Creations, 1999. This is the kind of folk/fabric art I was looking for when I held my contest to win this souvenir pillowcase. Now that I have these plans, I’ll have to see if I can recruit my mom or her army of needlepoint associates to complete this. And maybe it’s time for someone to release an update the city skyline?
The Sentinel of Stanley Park, a colour image by Paul Goranson, 14 x 18 inches. This was done in 1939 just before Paul went off to WWII, where along with E.J. Hughes and Orville Fisher, he became a celebrated war artist. Construction of the Lions Gate bridge had just been completed, there was no seawall around Stanley Park, and there was a famous cave to the right of Siwash Rock.
This appeared on Craigslist recently, and it seems it was a wedding gift to someone in the 1950s. A rare and extraordinary find; it might actually be the gouache original Goranson used to produce a linocut of the same image.
Snow Blizzard On Water Street, 2012 a sketch by Won Kang, via his blog.
Vintage Shell decal from Vancouver, BC, via ebay. The seller road_trip_magnets has done a remarkable job compiling this series of travel decals from all across the USA, and just ONE from Canada! Even he doesn’t know how many they produced, but he’s found at least 65 of them so far. He is dating them from the 1920s, as one commemorates San Francisco’s Diamond Jubilee September 5-12, 1925; another celebrates the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, New Years Day, 1928.
Shell has a history of strong advertising campaigns, with many of their early posters seen as works of fine art today. The National Motor Museum in the UK has it’s own Shell Art Collection, and I wonder if this decal campaign was following in the footsteps of similar promotions overseas. Some of the leading artists that Shell used in the UK in the 1930s included John Armstrong, Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, Tristram Hillier, Edward McKnight Kauffer and Charles Mozley. I’m not sure if we’ll ever learn who was responsible for these decals, but they’re all quite charming. It would be great if we could learn more about this series!
Vancouver Through Cuban Windows, a painting by Isaac John Lewis, seen on this year’s Culture Crawl. Isaac John Lewis has often depicted the decaying walls and windows of Havana in his paintings; in this series, scenic views from the City of Vancouver have been juxtaposed into view.
Heightened, a 30” x 40” oil on canvas by Leanne Christie, via her website. Leanne is a new addition to Hungry Thumbs Studio on Main Street. It turns out I had met Leanne once before on Granville Island, but this is the first time she has joined the Culture Crawl. She has lots more fabulous work to see in her studio; I recommend a trip to Hungry Thumbs, which includes artists Ken Gerberick, Janis Corrado, Kevin Dubois (previously featured here), and Ken Clarke.
Also shown here is a lovely 24” x 24” painting of the Marine Building titled “About to run” that hangs in the front window of Hungry Thumbs at 233 Main Street (near Cordova). Look for it! Today is the last day of the Crawl! MUST GET OUT AND SEE MORE STUDIOS NOW!
Mural from inside the Vancouver Police Museum from 1996 by O.C. (Doby) Dobrostanski. I contacted Doby on Texada Island and asked him for a few details about the work, which he has graciously supplied. The title of the mural is “Together, it Happens”, and it was commissioned by Eudon Rhymer, the curator of the museum at the time. Doby writes:
The mural was fairly painful to complete because of the rough surface it was painted on. It took nearly two months of work, including the sketches and scaled down test painting. The subjects of the collage format were varied and we used my photos and some from the archives. There were old news articles and bits of historic collections used as references. The group of people in the centre area of the painting include my wife, Eudon Rhymer’s partner at the time, several Vancouver Police personnel and a few fictitious people I dreamed up for balance. It was to show that people from all walks of life and the police members worked together in Vancouver.
A limited edition lithographic print was produced of the mural, and the Museum was able to raise additional funds from these sales.
Doby was also responsible for up-sizing the original blueprint of the old Birks building facade in the Museum of Vancouver, a mural which measures approximately 11 feet tall and 20 feet wide and features the original masonry archway installed over top. Other examples of his work can be found in hotels and restaurants in Whistler and Squamish and across the USA and Mexico. He recently completed a mural depicting the Fraser Blues flying formation demonstration team at the Langley Airport administration building. If you have a mural to paint, Doby may still take on the commission in his semi-retirement in Gillies Bay on Texada Island.