I have been interested in portraiture since I was in grade four when I amazed my teachers drawing a perfect likeness of one of students in a drawing class when the lesson was to draw a student who modeled for the class. Since then I have been interested in the human form being able to capture the “soul” of the sitter. This collection of portraits includes Bill Reid, who I visited his studio on Granville Island and I asked him if I could paint his portrait. He mumbled something and he began assembling tools around and he posed for me right there in his studio. He had a brown sweater on so I took the chance and put him in a button blanket shawl typical of Haida ceremonial costumes.
Simon Charlie, the famous carver, was another story. I was visiting Duncan with my family and he had been there before and knew Simon Charlie to be a very accommodating man. So on a whim I visited his studio just after it had a fire in it. Simon posed for me on the old striped chair in front of the burned out studio. My six-year-old daughter was into whales at the time when she found a carved whale in the ashes and she asked Simon Charlie if she could keep it. Simon Charlie said it was one of his students carving and she could have it. In the painting I have returned the whale to Simon Charlie by painting it the painting in the shavings by his foot.
Mrs. Simpson came from a very historical family. Fort Simpson was named after her family and the city Yale on the Fraser River was named after her husband’s family as well. The other portraits are all carefully crafted with attention to detail. They are realistic and capture the essence of the sitter.