Page 69b22 Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.
Don't be a dupe... use a loupe...

The Eyes have it... Left an extreme close-up of the original watercolour above hugely magnified, shows no uniform pattern, or grid of rows of dots, like those that entirely cover the magnified photomechanically reproduced watercolour right. That's why original watercolour images are considered valuable, and the photomechanical reproductions of watercolours, like the skirt close-up on a reproduction of FM Bell Smith's Victorian watercolour, far less valuable and desirable.

Think about it... In the original watercolour, you are seeing the actual paint itself, magnified, applied by the artist: the rose on the face, black on the hat, and red on the shirt.

And you can see the fibres of the watercolour paper itself.

In FM Bell Smith's skirt close-up, you are seeing only a photographic mechanical reproduction of the photo of a copy of the original watercolour, not the original paint itself. Recopying the original paint surface mechanically - either the photo emulsion, or an original painting or print - with a camera and then creating a copy with a machine printer, creates and superimposes the grid of dots on the image.

And the paper has a sheen on the surface, not the fibres of watercolour paper.

Watercolour Art Prints - When there is only one original, dupes are often made so that others can have copies to sell you.

The most crass art and antique sellers will - not so carelessly - tell you, "This is a watercolour by a British soldier, who revisited the farm just a few years after the battle."

Not so. It's got dots...

The less conniving might tell you the duplicate is an "art print."

Not so.

The term "art print" is hype and meaningless.

It is neither original art by an artist, or an original print by an artist.

No artist has anything to do with making the copy. It is a dupe run off by gnomes in the thousands on automatic mechanical presses.

It is not a print - which usually means a hand made original print, a lithograph, a chromolithograph, or a hand-made engraving.

It is a photomechanical reproduction or reproduction, for short.

But no art dealer likes to use the proper term for a mass-produced mechanical copy done by the thousands, because buyers don't want to pay big bucks unless they think they're getting something personal from the artist, or something unique.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous original watercolour of a famous battle site at the Battle of Waterloo in 1812.

This picture shows why original art is second to none in emotional and historical importance. And valued far above that of original prints and reproductions.

This actual piece of paper and the paint on it, dates from the time.

The original artist's hand painted on it at the time.

This actual paper was on the site and saw this very scene. It recorded the detail as the artist saw it, to the best of his or her ability.

This is the only one in existence; there are no others.

It captures an important historic site and pictures it as it was almost 200 years ago.

Note the cannonball holes in house and wall.

Go to Cannon Balls

See how this rare watercolour was salvaged from the trash heap of history.

Go to Haye Sainte Farm

Watercolour - La Haye Sainte Farm - c 1830
Orig. wc - Image Size - 24 x 27 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Original Art (Watercolours) - Originals & Repros 4

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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Here's a fabulous watercolour that shows what life is like for the average Canadian, hunkered down against the icy blast of winter, in an arid and cultural wasteland, snuggled up to a barrel of whiskey to see him through his awful existence...

Who wouldn't head for the bottle, or leave on the first donkey heading south, or anywhere, to get away from such a miserable existence.

Current Liberal Leader, and Canada's chief carpetbagger, Michael Ignatieff, is no fool. He did exactly that, moving south for some 40 years, to the warmer climes of the US.

In fact this picture hung in his living room, to remind him daily, why he had abandoned the misery of life in Canada, generations ago.

He only came back when some Liberal political bagmen bribed him - yep, with money - and assured him they would make him Prime Minister in short order if he only returned with them.

He had to make a serious choice. Could he give up life in Bushite America and its fondness for torture?

When assured that the Harperites loved torturing Muslims as much as Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, it was a done deal.

Maybe he could learn to like a place like that... in spite of the cold.

His political platform: bring the other Canadians around to see the merits of "just a little torture," and remold the people in the image of his favourite country: George Bush's US of A.

Go to the Idiot

If you don't believe Canada is a miserable country, just look at Michael Ignatieff's face, every time he makes a speech.

It shows how happy he is to be back here, in the land of the Eskimo...

The Liberal bagmen must be paying him lots...

Watercolour - A Nice Day in Canada - Thomas Tod c 1860

Orig. wc - Image Size - 29 x 39 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Probably no other country has its art so dominated by winter as Canada has.

It's also why the rich have always gotten out. Michael Ignatieff is hardly alone in his aversion to Canada. That's why he lit out long ago, to find a wife - actually two of them - in a warmer country - following the precedent set by Sir John A Canada's first prime minister. No cold Canadian women for Canada's elite.

John A's body was hardly cold in the ground - Brrrh! - when his wife returned to the warm climes of the UK. Charles Tupper, one of John A's immediate successors, as PM, went too, just as soon as he lost an election. His parliamentary opponent, Liberal Leader Edward Blake went too and became a British MP.

Zsuzsanna Zsohar, Michael Ignatieff's wife has told her intimates - but don't you dare tell anyone else! - that if Michael were to die - he is looking very poorly lately, have you seen him? - she will take the next plane, and head out for the UK too, or perhaps to somewhere near Crawford Texas, to be closer to Michael's intellectual and spiritual mentor, Dubbya...

Other rich Canadians like Galen Weston, left too. And no cold Canadian woman for him either, even an intelligent one. He decided, early on, that a 19 year old model was preferable to a frigid Canadian woman with some education. Now Galen and Hilary only come back, in the summer, to desecrate another public building, or two, or three, by nailing up another one of their huge and gauche name plaques.

And Lord Conrad Black the Jailbird, went too. Conrad even gave up his Canadian citizenship. He wanted no reminder at all, of the miserable place he left behind. He reportedly told friends, "Hell, a warm US prison is better than my cold mansion on the Bridle Path." (You know, the one he bought with the millions he defrauded, and is doing time for, in the company of others like him.)

Note the lack of dots anywhere on the horse's eye, and how you can pick out the feathery edges of the paint brush strokes.

Note the unique way that watercolour paper responds to water-based paint.

It's very difficult to maintain absolutely fine edges to painted lines. The paint always bleeds off into the rough paper, whose surface is made up of minute fibres that prevent clean edges.

This peculiar roughness of watercolour paper actually gives the painting "punch" and realism.

Look down at the surface edge of your sweater. It has a roughness, in close-up, exactly like water-colour paper portrays objects. If you use a loupe on even a cotton shirt, it shows the same surface roughness.

Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous watercolour portrait by one of the world's premier bird artists, Allan Brooks, a Canadian, of the Ruddy Duck, found across Canada.

Note how the transparency of watercolour paint, in the hands of a master, captures the liquidity of water in a way no other medium can do.

Note how the difference in how the paper absorbs paint makes it virtually impossible to paint any solid colour. The black around the eye has many shades and nuances of black, in spite of Allan's best efforts.

The medium actually helps the artist to achieve the solid black that is found in nature, where it has many shadings and sheens.

Watercolour, Ruddy Duck - Major Allan Brooks, DSO - c 1910
Orig. wc - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

A fine work of art to show how a master at watercolour uses the medium to breathe life and character into paper with a mix of paint and water.

The background wash is very typical of how the fibres in watercolour paper respond to paint, absorbing more or less depending on how watery the paint is on the brush.

The paint actually bleeds into adjoining fibres.

The mottling effect can not be achieved with any other medium because watercolour is transparent paint, unlike oil and acrylic which is opaque.

You could very well argue that you need to be a superior artist with watercolour.

You cannot "overwrite" mistakes, by adding more transparent paint. It's there for keeps.

With oil or acrylic paint you just paint over your mistakes and go on.

Go to Allan Brooks
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous watercolour that says a lot about Canada.

It points out the fact that most - by far - of Canada's important heritage paintings from the 19th century are watercolours.

Military officers, and many wives of colonial administrators had been taught the art of painting with watercolours. And coming from the settled and genteel backgrounds of life in England, they took with a relish to painting the exotic lifestyle and nature subjects they found so stimulating in the wilds of Canada.

Hundreds of their paintings remain to show Canada as it was before colour photography was available.

This fabulous painting is by one of Canada's famous pioneer writers who doubled as a superb painter in watercolours - Susanna Moodie.

In fact her daughter, Agnes, painted the watercolour images for Canada's first illustrated handbook on "Canadian Wildflowers," which Susanna's sister, Catherine Parr Traill had produced in 1869.

Go to Susanna Moodie

Hugely magnified is a close up of the top of the upper Lady's Slipper

Watercolour, Lady's Slipper, Susanna Moodie -1874
Orig. wc on board - Size - 30 x 38 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed - "Susanna Moodie, Lakefield, North Douro, 1874"

Susanna - no she did not convert it to a pretentious Zsuzsanna - is one of the many Canadians who documented the tough life of immigrants who settled in Canada. Her "Roughing in the Bush" remains a classic.

In fact Michael Ignatieff has jocularly called his current stay in Canada - it will be shorter than many suspect - "roughing it in the bush."

But only among his intimates, in the US, the UK, and Hungary, where he prefers to spend any spare time he can get away from Canada and Canadians.






Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous watercolour that shows a typical cultural outing for Canadians.

Now do you know why Michael Ignatieff stayed away for some 40 years before returning to claim fame and fortune - handed to him on a platter, by sleazy backroom dealers?

Sure this was painted by Thomas Gregor in 1892, somewhere near Quebec, but little has changed since.

Ordinary Canadians still put on bulky clothes, chop holes in the ice to fish, run about in the woods on snowshoes, chop wood for their holiday cabins, and go about with their guns potting at any moving wildlife, or clubbing seal pups to death.

But you won't find Iggy among them, on his vacation. He's off, with the elites, in Hungary or the UK, or anywhere but Canada, in his time off... Where he can dress Zsuzsanna in Armani, and frilly things, not parkas, and where they have real traffic signs.

Not just branches in the snow to show you the way when the blizzard strikes and you can't see three feet in front of you...

Watercolour, Gathering Firewood, TR Gregor - 1892
Orig. wc - Image Size - 19 x 29 cm
Found - Vancouver, BC

The sad eye of a horse that has seen too many Canadian winters, when magnified, shows the bleeding characteristics of watercolour on paper. And remember, no grid of dots... You are seeing the actual paint and paper fibres of the original work of art.








It looks very much like the "Canadian horse" breed that is unique to Canada, and was introduced by the early French settlers.

It is tough, of medium size, and is amazingly multi-purpose. As a work horse it can pull stumps, a plough, sleds, wagons, or buggies, and serves as a fine riding horse as well.

That doesn't mean it likes it in Canada any more than Iggy...

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Another fabulous watercolour by Thomas Gregor, this one from 1883.

It shows Canadians in a typical activity - killing things.

This time it is a hapless moose, but throughout their history Canadians have targeted all kinds of other wildlife for killing.

In fact there was a huge uproar recently when the government wanted gun and rifle owners to register their weapons. Canadian gun owners from coast to coast wanted no one to get information on how many and what kinds of killing tools they had in their houses. Many observers thought the outrage was very "American."

In fact Canada was built on exterminating things, like the beaver, and anything else which had the misfortune to have fuzz on its back, instead of skin: lynx, marten, mink, fisher, muskrat, and fox.

We oversimplify; Canadians did target some with only skin on their back.

We speak of the Beothuk Indians of Newfoundland, where the white population literally exterminated them with guns, because they found them culturally and religiously objectionable, or inferior, to the dominant race of good Christian white people.

Killing Indians was a natural pastime in Newfoundland.

It's hardly surprising that it's bred in the bone in the population. They kill cute little, fuzzy, seal pups to this very day with great big clubs, just to make a buck.

It's hardly surprising then, that Newfoundland also produced General Hillier, who thought killing moose and seal pups are "kid stuff." He prefers bigger game and has raised his sights to the same target his forefathers exterminated so successfully in Newfie - humans.

General Hillier publicly trumpeted he was after the "detestable murderers and scum bags" in Afghanistan, you know, the Muslims over there. And he orchestrated sending his boys and girls there to do the job.

"We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people..."

Watercolour, The Trophy Moose - Thomas Gregor, 1883
Orig. wc - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Vancouver, BC

A proud Canadian and a dead moose.

Canadians have always proudly taken pictures of themselves with things they have killed: moose, bears, sheep, caribou, deer...

And don't forget humans.

In Somalia some Canadian troops took trophy pictures of torturing to death a young Somali prisoner-of-war.

Just like countless Americans were later doing - and continue to do - in Iraq, in Abu Ghraib, Baghram Air Force Base, and Guantanamo.

(In fact the cancer was so widespread in the Canadian unit in Somalia, that the Government of the day saw no recourse but to disband an entire Canadian Army regiment - something never done in the US.)

But in 2007 Canadian generals in Afghanistan, warned their troops publicly - if you can believe this - not to post pictures on YouTube or the internet, which might reflect badly on the Canadian Forces.

If the generals had told their men not to commit outrages, against prisoners-of-war, in the first place, there would be no incriminating pictures or videos to worry about, or post. The YouTube warning would have been pointless. But there is no doubt a problem in a military where the leader advocates "killing people" as a major aim of his stewardship.

That the generals warned their troops - of bad publicity not human rights - shows that clearly, there continues to be a worrisome public, and a private standard, about killing, torture, and trophy pictures, in the "boys will be boys" Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.