Page 71 - Lewis Parker: A Work in Progress
ISSUE : Issue 43
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1
hunted and the women would follow them to bring back. I was going to try to have a moose being dragged back. But as you can see I crammed so much activity into this that I had to start editing out certain ac? tivities. For instance, I managed to keep in this little scene of the boys digging for clams only by shooting through one of the main scenes. They (can) come in with the camera and use little areas as paintings within them? selves, or illustrations within themselves. There are negotiations between U.C.CB. and the (P.E.I.) Board of Education to use some of this, either in a lineal form or in a final painted form, to illustrate their (Grade 6) books, to show the stu? dents what life was like. What I started out to say is, this was a space/time concept all condensed into one moment, rather than using the concept of the montage. You ask me what, as an illus? trator, I contribute. This is it. It's a S5mthesis of the historical material usual? ly given to me by historians. At one point (for the Louisbourg murals), I considered putting the signatures, under my own, of the fourteen researchers that worked on those paintings. (The Cabot mural is a different kind of distortion. You don't so much distort land, or time--it's almost a single event, with perspectives on that event. It's the Cabot Landing...,) Yes. Between leaving Venice to discovery at Aspy Bay in 1497--so it covers maybe 12 to 15 years. And to do that, I had to use the montage method. And montage method, instead of just having them sitting like cartoon blurbs around a main theme, I've tried to stage it so that one thing leads into another and they all become integrators of the whole thing--the leaving of Venice, the financing Cabot did with the merchants, leaving on the trip. The scene in Henry's court could be before, when (Cabot) got letters patent, or when he came back and was given the gift of 10 pounds. Oh, incidentally, this (the Cabot) isn't finished yet--because I haven't got con? firmation that the St. George was actually the flag that he planted. There's some ref? erence we came across that has to do with that flag. When he landed, he planted the banner of Venice, the arms of Pope Alexan? der VI, and the banner of England. Well, the banner of England could either have been the St. George Cross or another. So that might be changed, when verified. Let me back up and explain the three ways that I conceive these (murals): as one sweeping thing that goes around in a cir? cle, as independent things that can stand on their own to depict regional or tempor? al activities in Cape Breton, then (as something) to be used for details of illus? trations . So the three things are kept in mind in the original concept. This is some? thing developing in my work: where each painting, each illustration, becomes a mul? ti-purpose thing to be used. For instance, as this whole series is, when they go 12 in a circle in the atrium at U.C.C.B. They will have to work as a continuous piece of interest, so that your eyes can flow a- round and each one will lead into the other. (Actually, there is a great difference be? tween these murals and the ones you pro? duced for Louisbourg. You've already men? tioned distortions of Louisbourg's land? scape and so on--but I don't think you dis? torted its time. My sense of those is that the attempt there was to take a snapshot in Louisbourg, to really catch an instant, sometime in the simmer of 1944.) That's correct. That's exactly it. That had to be very precise, because of the sense the his? torians I worked with had, as to the time to show. All those activities are within a week or two in mid-summer of 1744. The whole idea was to show people that it was a port, with a lot of ships in the harbour. The harbour, I think, could hold 140 ships. I only painted 80 in because we only had records of 80, (But every ship in that painting is a recorded ship.) Exactly. In? cidentally, I had a lot of help on those Here is the mural depicting events surrounding John Cabot's 15th century landing in Cape Breton. To the left is a portion of the Micmac mural. Note how the two are designed to blend into a continuous painting.
Cape Breton's Magazine