In preparation for the Bush, Gould and Shilling – Drawn Figure we asked a member of each artist’s family to share a memory they have of their loved one and their relationship with drawing. Drawing is such a delicate and unique way to experience an artist’s work because they express a personal touch and feeling. Please enjoy the following stories from the families of these great Canadian artists:
“I remember as a young boy, my father working in his home studio on different commercial projects. I would wander in and be amazed, even as an eight or nine year old, at the talent he had with a pencil. He would be sketching a layout on a pad of paper and it was if, to this little boys eyes, there was magic flowing from his pencil. It all seemed so effortless and wonderful.
I would watch in amazement as my father created hand drawn and coloured Christmas cards. There is a Christmas card exhibition on at the McMichael at the moment, with a number of these Jack Bush creations included. When he would need a kid model for an ad, I, or my brothers, would be hired to pose. Hard work cause we couldn’t move. He only paid us a dime!
We summered in the Lake of Bays area and every now and then he would take me sketching. I was poor at drawing, but he would be very patient with me and show me how to draw an evergreen tree, using the side of the pencil, much like a brush. The enjoyment in all of this wasn’t in my learning to draw, but in watching him draw so freely and lovingly and the joy of my Dad sharing a sketching trip with me.”
– Terry Bush
“John Gould is nationally recognized for his gracefully executed drawings of the human figure. Throughout his extensive career as an artist Gould’s aim has been to celebrate the beauty of people and the warmth of human life. Gould found inspiration in faces, postures and the LOOK in one’s eye and transfers them to paper. Drawing provided Gould with a highly expressive method of working.
On a more personal note…
I returned from Stratford and my income as an actress needed a boost. Jock MacDonald, an artist and teacher at O.C.A., recommended that I pose at the Artist Workshop. He called Barbara Wells, the owner, and the next week a class taught by John Gould needed a model. That was 1961. I continued posing for John at various venues. I liked the way he taught, always instructive, kind and fair. An admirer of his work, I felt so privileged to pose for his classes. Our lives merged in 1971. We moved from Toronto and my posing continued.
John often used himself as reference and when needed a body part or pose, there I was. We were the cheapest models to be had.
My utter joy was to come home and see what was on the easel. He drew with such ease that it took my breath away as he did when I saw him.”
– Ingi Gould
“I can remember the colours, the vast space in which we lived and the presence of him. He left for us the freedom to create whenever we wanted to, my brother and I. Vast rolls of giant paper were rolled out onto the floor for us. Endless amounts of supplies were in an arms reach. Everything was there but no pressure, no push. That magnificent roll opened up our minds and allowed us to think in a much larger scale allowing our imagination to run wild.
I paint now almost everyday in the space my father once painted himself and has since left my mother, my brother and I. Soon I’ll be rolling out a large roll of paper for my boy…”
– Bewabon Shilling