By Dean Carriere
I’m staring at the one and only painting I ever did. It’s on a 12 by 16 inch canvas and recalls the memory of me and a female companion paddling towards the river at the end of a lake that we crossed four decades ago. There is rich green foliage on either side of the river, tall spruce on the right and low hanging bushes on the other side of the river entrance. In the distance are fields of golden rod and beyond that were cliffs of hard granite.
I painted this at a friend’s home in Oliphant in
Bruce County on the shores of Lake
Huron. Pete and Donna Stewart had invited me and two other
friends, Dave and Carol Greig, for dinner. Dave was an art teacher and
suggested we come early in the afternoon. He would bring canvases and paints
and coach us in the fine art of painting with acrylics. This modest oeuvre is
my effort. It might not fetch a penny at Christie’s Auction House but it is
priceless to me for the thoughts and memories that it congress up each time I
gaze upon it.
It reminds me as we approach our ‘150th birthday as a nation that we are in First Nation’s territory, some lands which were ceded to the colonizers through fair treaties, others through stealth and trickery and others outright stolen.
It reminds me that we have to do a much better job dealing with the grievances of indigenous people. It reminds me of how lucky we are to have such great amounts of fresh water – this at a time when many nations have very serious water shortages.
Maude Barlow, one of the world’s most knowledgeable water experts, stated that several countries are likely to completely run out of water within the next five to ten years. We must do a much better job of protecting a lakes, rivers, and ground water.
This painting reminds me of the vastness of our country and rich we are in so many natural resources, and that we have to manage these in a much more sustainable way.
Above all, it reminds me of the importance of having good friends who can help and inspire one another to be better people, to live simply, as Ghandi said, so that others may simply live; and finally strive to make our nation a healthier, more inclusive place in which to live.
Den Carriere Canada