Category Archives: regional canadian art

Featuring Two Classic Canadian Artists


Today, Redkettle Gallery’s blog is featuring works by two of Canada’s classic 20th century artists. Click the links given to learn more about these artists and their work featured today. 

The first is an early (1965) print published as part of the portfolio “Toronto 20′. by the Jerrold Morris Gallery. This was a  limited edition series, and the work is numbered 64/100.

A rare find, this print reflects in its strong religious symbolism the primary place that Roman Catholicism had taken  in Kurelek’s life, and as befits the quality of this print, it comes framed in archival materials behind non-UV glass.

Check out the post here:    which is dedicated to Kurelek’s history, and check out: 

to see this work in high resolution detail.


Above is an oil on stret6cher frame measuring 18×24. This significant original work of art will be the focal point of any room. Shives is a well regarded painter working out  of Vancouver. He studied at centres in California, receiving a bachelor of fine arts and had a long relationship with his mentor the late Toni Onley.

This work reflects his sure and capable technical skills and will give a great deal of pleasure to its new owner.

Check out the large high resolution image here:


For more information, contact  Until next week……………









Affordable Art and how to find it

Part of any art dealers mission is to introduce collectors early on in their collecting career to good quality art at reasonable prices, and I will be talking on Mich’s behalf today on this aspect of assisting collectors to develop an eye for art.

I mentioned in last week’s post the amazing number of places in Canada where one can see art displayed or visit artists’ studios. I would urge any aspiring collector to visit as many possible sites as possible, both in the real world and in cyberspace. Everything you see will serve to hone your eye for art and your knowledge of what is happening in the world of Canadian art today.

If you are uncertain about actually purchasing art for your own home to start or add to an existing collection, there are many art loan societies who will rent art to you for a small monthly or annual fee. A word of caution – if you fall in love with a piece when you get it home and live with it for a while you may not be able to purchase that piece – many art loan societies are strictly into loan or rental and do not sell their pieces – be sure of the plan before you indulge yourself! I know if I were to rent I would want the option to purchase to be part of the plan, but in noodling around the internet I only found one lease-to-own gallery in the business – they appear to be more of a facilitator between galleries and the purchaser – they purchase a piece of art outright from a dealer and then do a lease/purchase with the prospective buyer and spread the payments over a set period of time.

Take a look though today at the wide variety of reasonably priced art that Mich is offering today – you don’t really need to go elsewhere.

Mich and I both seem to hold to the feeling that if we like and can happily live with a piece, we will acquire it. Since we both operate businesses out of our homes, then this is a good idea as we both live with our inventory until it sells.



Today I will be showing Mich’s current inventory: Below are a lovely grouping of end of the 19th and early 20th century pieces by Austrian artists.



Above is a lovely small watercolour of a rabbit, painted by Ella Blaschek

Above is a series of sketches of a kitten by Robert Fuchs and the first picture, above the rabbit, is an  appealing watercolour of a cat with mischief on its mind by Carl Froschl – any or all of these three small treasures would make an affordable and worthwhile acquisition that would look great together or singly anywhere in your home.

Each one is nicely framed and priced very affordably at $275 PLUS SHIPPING. And for a limited time, Mich is prepared to accept two equal monthly payments with the painting to ship when the second payment clears.



A major sale this week for Mich was his lovely oil  “Fishing Fleet” – this is going to make a bit of a gap on his living room wall!

But he still has a lovely small pen and ink on paper study by Sid Barron called Ships, Victoria BC Harbour shown above. Unframed, shipping will be very inexpensive on this small gem. Mich is asking $295 PLUS SHIPPING for this painting and his offer of two equal monthly payments is available on this lovely piece by a well-known artist.


Mich has several interesting painting by Corinna Ray of Sandy Lake First Nations in Northern Ontario. Lately Corinna has done several very impressive acrylic on canvas paintings and they are shown here:corinna ray - young moose

The acrylic on canvas called Young Moose shown above is 25x42inches – a major size depicting with power and skill an animal Corinna has painted in the native style and clearly with respect and love – this work chronicles her maturation as a skilled and capable artist and is available unframed and rolled for shipping in an exonomical tube. PRICE: $550 plus shipping. Two equal monthly payments are acceptable, with shipping after final payment clears

Another lovely large acrylic on canvas “Moose and Owl” using Corinna’s signature colours of blues, violet and yellow/orange and a large format – 25x40inches. See how well it fits into a home’s decor. Mich is again asking $550 plus shipping unframed and rolled in a tube – two equal payments and shipment when final payment clears.

This last acryloc on canvas painting is smaller and is a lovely study of an owl – at $200 plus shipping, it would make a unique gift for a special person on your list, and is also available for two equal monthly payments.


And finally – the print that started it all for RedKettle. Twenty years ago this was the first piece of art by a Canadian Native Artist that Mich bought. This Floyd Joseph print sold quickly and Mich  thought he would never find another, but here twenty years along and it turned up again. Of course, he had to buy it! This is Wolf Dancing with the Moon 12/180 sized at 25.75x 28inches and with beautiful colours that subtly bring to mind Christmas: green. red, white, black and grey – this print will make a major statement anywhere you choose to hang it.

It is nicely framed with non-reflective glass and an understated black wood frame. Check it out below – wouldn’t you love to own this!

PRICE $1750 PLUS SHIPPING – two equal installments with shipment after final payment clears.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Janet and Mich

Joe Norris: a guy with a work ethic, who painted 12 hours a day!

Another of the classic, first generation Folk Artists from Nova Scotia is Joe Norris. Joe was born in Halifax on 1924, and was one of nine children.

At the age  of  seven, Joe and his family moved to Lower Prospect, which in 1931 would have been an isolated fishing village far  off the beaten track, at the headlands of the peninsula that divided Halifax Harbour and St. Margaret’s Bay, near to Peggy’s Cove.  At that time, there were no access roads to any of these villages other than winding, narrow dirt roads. Road access between some of the villages is still sketchy to non-existent today although indirectly they can all be reached from the main Highways – #3 and #103 – from Halifax through to the south shore.

Joe’s father died in 1934, when Joe was 10. This was at the height of the depression. At that time, the schools and whatever social outreach there was was in the capable hands of the Sisters of Charity and the Church – Stella Maris or Star of the Sea. At about this time, the sisters founded an artisanal spinning and weaving workshop where beautiful tweed was woven, along with overshot designs for tablerunners and placemats – as tastes changed and other options became realistic for women in the communities, this workshop closed down in the late 50’s.

Joe was a sickly child and was often away from school – apparently he painted at this time, but put that activity away when he reached 16 and headed for Halifax to work. This would have been at the outbeak of the Second World War and Joe worked on the docks as a longshoreman or stevedore. He later worked as a groundsman after working in construction as well. Clearly he was not hesitant to put his hand to any sort of work he was offered. During this period, he is said to have painted a few pieces but no known survivals exist.


In 1952, Joe came back home to Lower Prospect and began working as a lobster fisherman. He proceeded to build himself a house, and fished for the next twenty years or so.

In 1973, a major heart attack put an end to the dangerous and  physically strenuous life of a fisherman. Joe was only 49. A visiting nurse suggested he turn to painting again to keep himself busy as he was the sort of guy who had to be doing something all the time or he became stressed out.


This was the opportunity he needed, and all the wonderful, pent- up images of life along the seacoast came tumbling out. Despite poverty and lack of opportunities, rural Nova Scotians are confronted with wildlife, natural beauty and striking colour at every turn. I can truthfully say that as many times as I have driven down my road and caught the first glimpse of the Bay, what I see is never the same twice, and that Joe’s sunsets do not lie – I watch the same intensity of colour develop each summer evening out my kitchen window and wish I could paint them as Joe did!

By 1975, Joe had been discovered by fellow artist and Folk Art collector Chris Huntingdon who was by then buying almost everything Joe produced – and he was prolific! In the less than 25 years before his death he is said to have painted over 2000 pieces.

Joe was so successful at his new career that he was able to stop receiving a disability allowance, and get by on his earnings as an artist.

In addition to painting in two dimensions, Joe turned his hand to decorating furniture that clients brought him. Phillip Brooks was especially selective in supplying good Canadian Country Furniture from the 19th century for Joe to decorate for him.


Joe painted a large number of night scenes and all depict starry nights with full moon. In the winter it is possible to see a lot of detail by moonlight, especially near the sea where reflection of light off the water helps detail to stand out.

Look carefully – I think you can see that there are basic similarities to Maud Lewis’ work, but there are differences too – one of which is that there is lessromanticism, and also the more detailed and filled canvases.

I think I like Joe’s night paintings the best, but then I look at his daytime and sunset paintings and his decorated furniture and am lost for choice!

As Chris promoted Joe’s work, along with various Canadian Galleries such as Mira Godard, and Houston-North out of Lunenburg, there were more and more exhibits including his work, culminating 4 years after his death in 1996 with a retrospective show at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia called Joe Norris: Painted Visions of Nova Scotia.

I have the catalogue raisonnee for the show – same title – published by Goose Lane Editions and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia – ISBN )-86492-318-X

This is a must have and I’m sure it can be obtained either new or used if you search Amazon.



One thought I keep having as I travel among various periods of art, various art forms, and decorative concepts is the interconnectness of all forms and the wide range from the ultra-sophisticated to art and artisanal products which are made by ordinary people, and which stay in the collective experience over time and keep re-appearing time and again. For example, Joe Norris and Leo Naugler are both well-known for having made elaborate decorated frames to set off their work. As a quilter, I have records of so many quilt borders done using the same themes as Joe and Leo used – and these borders have stood the test of time from the 1800’s right up to today.

I look at Joe’s painted furniture as see it as being in a continuum from the early 17th century gilded and japanned furniture  imported into Europe from Asia and destined for the great country houses now owned by the National Trust – look closely – there is a connection!


Time to push the “Publish” button and send this on its way to you – thank you all the readers who are making Mich’s stats look very good lately – we hit a new daily high number of visits last week!

 I hope you are enjoying reading the blog as much as I enjoy creating the posts. See you all next week.




Redkettle’s Canadian Fine Art Upcoming at Levis Auctions

Toni Onley - Mount Baker from Arbutus Golf and Country Club

From time to time, it has been RedKettle’s habit to offer some of the inventory of paintings by sale at auction, and three of my current acquisitions are being offered at the moment through

This framed watercolour on paper, sized at 10.25×15 inches, by Toni Onley (1928-2004) will close on November 6. It is #470 in the online catalogue. It is being offered at “Silent Auction” so be sure to familiarize yourself with the method of bidding if you are interested.

Onley’s works continue to sell well and this is a very strong, yet subtle piece that will stand alone or enhance your existing collection.  Don’t miss out on your chance to pick up a beautiful piece of Canadian art that is ready to hang on your wall – already framed, and mounted in an archival quality mat.


Two other pieces will be auctioned with the rest of the catalogue listings, which will end on November 12. 2011.

These are two more distinctively Canadian watercolours, both unframed for easy and inexpensive shipping.

Above  is Peter Paul Ochs’ (1931-1994)  unframed watercolour on paper called Magic Valley Lahaina. Lot # 773. Sized at 13x 18.5 inches, when matted and framed this painting will make a bold statement on your wall. The colours lend themselves well to many different decors and styles. As you can see, the painting is titled and signed in the lower right quadrant.

And lastly, the lovely unframed watercolour on paper of “Pond Skaters” unsigned, but attributed to George Menendez Rae (1906-1992) sized at 14.5×21.75 inches. Lot #831. This painting is so timely for the coming winter holiday season and will make a strong splash of colour in your room. Although a retro mid century piece, there is a timeless quality to this piece of art which will lend itself well to any decor and any style of home.

The catalogue is an interesting one – be sure to look through, and be sure to get ready to bid – if you haven’t a paddle number you will need to contact Levis and get one arranged. RedKettle is pleased to offer several lovely works for you to acquire – what could be more affordable than to bid what you feel is a good price, and perhaps win a treasure!

Until next week – Mich ( and Janet wish you a pleasant and mild November!





Collecting Art: in which you get to know Mich and Janet’s taste in art

Mich and I have both spent a lifetime collecting art and other quirky objects; and buying and selling collectibles, antiques, art and decorative objects. We have lots in common, but in other areas our individual interests and approach to life couldn’t be farther apart.


Mich was born 50+ years ago in Sioux Lookout, in northwestern Ontario.  This is a town of less than 6000 people midway between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, some of it at an elevation of 1200 feet above sea level. It began life as a major point on the Transcontinental Rail System and has evolved after the discovery of gold at Red Lake, and an upsurge in both Tourism and lumbering in later years into a strong economic base for the population, yielding higher than average median salary and lower unenployment rates than most of the country. There is a large aboriginal component to the population.,_Ontario

Janet (moi) was born a year or so before the start of the Second World War in the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The largest city in the maritime provinces, but still having a population then of less than 80,000, Halifax had several universities and a college of art and design, and in addition to being the seat of the province’s government was an army and naval base since its founding in 1749 and was subject to boom in wartime and bust when the current war was over.  Growing up in wartime Halifax was a very gritty experience as it was the base for organizing and manning the convoys and was therefore on the edge of the frontlines; but once that was over, Halifax was quick to further develop it’s amenities to include new housing developments, a symphony orchestra and public art gallery, as well as both amateur and professional repertory theatre.

It’s quite likely both Mich and I developed our particular tastes in art during our growing up years in two very different cultural environments – Mich, of course is primarily interested in collecting and dealing in art by First Nations artists, and in addition nationally known Canadian artists such as Harold Town and Jean-Paul Riopelle, and since his home has been in Victoria BC for some time now, regional artists such as Tony Onley, Ted Harrison, and Sid Barron.

I find that as well as the nationally known and collected artists of the 60’s and 70’s such as Town, Riopelle, Alex Colville etc, I have tended to be drawn to art produced from the East Coast school of ‘magic realism’ sparked in his students by Alex Colville through his many years at the Department of Fine Art at Mount Allison in New Brunswick; and in addition I collect and deal in Folk Art and moan that I can’t afford Maud Lewis and Joe Norris!! My quilt designs are informed by the coastal experience both in subject matter and colour choices.

Our later lives have also diverged – Mich is still working for the BC Government while running RedKettle in his spare time and

lives in the very urban and cosmopolitan setting of Victoria BC

while I returned to Nova Scotia in midlife from Ontario and after living and working here for some years took early retirement to start my own business – quiltmaking and dealing in folk art and other vintage delights. I live in a very isolated and rural coastal community near the Bay of Fundy.


By the way, Mich is currently downsizing, and has asked me to mention that he has for sale  five very attractive and unique handcrafted cedar lamps. Contact him – As well, several of the pieces of art shown here from his inventory are also for sale.

As for me, if you see anything among my pictures that interests you, contact me to enquire: 

Until next week – Janet and Mich say goodbye from their opposite ends of the country!



Before talking about beginning to collect Canadian art, I’d like to remind folks that RedKettle currently has a special promotion involving  a selection of 5 very desirable pieces.

George Ray Menendez - watrercolour: Pond Skaters

Above is a lovely watercolour from the late 50’s by George Rae-Menendez, which is affordably priced at $275 and can be purchased by making two equal instalments a month apart. Price is plus shipping and the painting ships unframed on the final payment clearing the bank.

A New Tomorrow - Isaac Bignell acrylic on canvas approx 5 feet square

This painting could also make a very strong statement in your professional office, reception area or board/meeting room. On a practical note, it could offer you a very nice tax break if donated to your favourite ‘not-for-profit’ – check it out with Mich. Asking price is $4995 but he is open to reasonable offers and again, instalments can be negotiated.


Below I’m showing two companion pieces by Corinna Ray of the isolated Northwestern Ontario Anishnawbe reserve of Sandy Lake. Sandy Lake has been in the news lately as the entire population of the settlement has been evacuated by air due to the extreme smoke conditions – the fire has not reached the settlement and it is hoped it will not, but the health risks from the smoke have been extreme. We wish good fortune to Corinna – may she be back home soon!

Caribou: Corinna Ray, Acrylic on canvas

The above acrylic on rolled canvas is entitled Caribou and is priced at $250 plus shipping by Canada Post in a mailing tube,As is the painting below.

If you opt to buy both of Corinna’s pieces, you can have them for $475 both rolled in the one tube, which would be a good saving on shipping.
These paintings are eligible for payment by two equal installments and will ship as soon as the second payment clears.
Check Mich’s main website: as he has several other significant pieces by Corinna that you may be interested in.

Bella Coola Raven Mask - James Leslie

I saved my favourite for last today! This remarkable ceremonial mask is a mixed media treasure in painted cedar, braided bark and bone beads. It has a clacker hidden inside to add a further dimension of sound to the striking visual display. It is painted in traditional Haida colours and is in immacualate condition. A joy to own and display and Mich is open to your reasonable  offer and can arrange instalments  – he is asking $2495 for this scarce and unusual mask.

Do you feel that you are ready to start collecting some Canadian art?
Wondering where to get started?
Remember, nothing is permanent when you are a developing collector and most collectors purchase what appeals to them and continue to hone their instincts about art over many years, weeding out what no longer interests them, or finding better examples.
I’ve been collecting now for over 50 years and have few of the items I started out with – some I miss and wish I’d never parted with – some I can’t even remember. But, what is on my walls and shelves right now reflects the same basic interest in a wide variety of Canadian art that I’ve always had – folk art, views of built heritage and ships, and coastal areas.

Seagull on a buoy 1997 Roseville Tanner

You can’t go wrong with buying what currently appeals to you and there is nothing wrong with passing stuff on at a yard sale or consignment shop  – which is also a sometime source of new treasures.

wilfred cyr - two saltbankers 16x20 oil on board

Another way to feel the pulse of your local art scene is to visit galleries, museums and auction houses, as well as keeping an eye on trends in art by following blogs such as this one.
If you are collecting art as inexpensively as possible, you are unlikely to find a lost Group of Seven painting in the back room of a thrift shop,. but you will find lots of things by less well known artists that still have integrity and value and will thrill your eye.
Whatt you need to develop is the courage of your convictions as to what is right for you, and the confidence to know what is available and to sift out what strikes your eye and you feel you can live with over time.
What’s on your walls?
Hope the weather where you are is acceptable or failing that you have an air conditioned home workplace.
Remember, if you see something you like and want to know more about, contact
Until next time: all the best from Janet (East) and Mich (West) and enjoy the summer!