Black Sheep Gallery Over the years we have attempted to visit as many active folk artists as we could. Often it was a matter of finding them. In late 2007 we acquired two of Ken Charlton’s horse drawn wagons and we eventually found out he lived in Annapolis Royal. On our first visit there was no one home, and we were hoping to visit him in the summer of 2008, the year he passed away. We did eventually acquire what we consider one of his best works, the ark with Noah and his wife and 56 animals which you can see here. The artwork by Ken that we are adding this month is an unexpected find and records an interesting time in Nova Scotia. Inscribed on the bottom is:

“The Hobo or Tramp (as they were known in Nova Scotia) were men who had no money or job. They would walk around the country getting a meal where ever they found someone kind enough to feed them. They would sleep in barns or any other convenient place they found. The last one I saw was in 1971. He stopped at my fathers place and wanted supper and a razor to shave with. He got fed but no shave.”

Our next find is a refreshing rendition of a steer standing in a red wagon by Tom Rector (1908 – 2003). Tom worked for many years for the Harrison family, at their family farm, their mill and eventually Harrison’s Building Supplies. The family said he was a hard worker and a gentleman and he certainly treated us well when we visited.

The comely pastel blue bird by Dick Tutty (1919 – 1997) is a delight to see on a window sill in these early spring days. So perfect in its purity. And don’t forget to look at the white breated nuthatches by Robert Lavender (1925–1996). During the period he was active he carved just about every native bird of Nova Scotia.

Arthur Villeneuve (1910–1990) was inspired to become an artist after a revelation he had in 1946. This decisive moment occurred during the homily at Sunday mass, in which the priest quoted from a letter of Pope Pius XII. The purpose of the letter was to exhort the faithful to make full use of their talents. Arthur believed that he had, until then, left his artistic ability untouched, and returned home to set about developing his gift. Arthur began painting frescoes on the outside of his house in April, 1957. Still working as a barber, he painted 100 hours per week for 23 months, until he had covered the front facade, the rear, all the interior walls and ceilings, and even the windows of his house. In 1994, the house was transported to an exhibition space at the Pulperie de Chicoutimi. The Villeneuve house is one of the most prominent pieces of the museum's collection. The painting by Arthur Villeneuve added to the gallery this month is titled Le Champ Du Chasseur.

And finally a painting we have been hiding away for many years. We hope you will be as transfixed as we were by the vibrant colours of Norval Morrisseau’s painting titled Rutting Season II. The painting is acrylic on Arches 300 lb. artist paper. It comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Norval as well as being signed in syllabics on the front. It also has Morrisseau’s signature and thumb print on the reverse.

We have received some sad news. David Stephens, a well known Cape Breton artist and a co-founder of the annual Lunenburg Folk Art Festival, has been diagnosed with colon cancer and is scheduled for surgery in early May. Because he has been unable to paint in the recent past,and will be unable to paint for some time during his recovery, a go-fund-me page has been started to provide him with financial assistance. Those of you who might want to contribute can access that page here.

Happy Spring everyone. Stay safe.

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