Paul Mantrop – Sketches Feature
Image details: GEORGIAN BAY, 2016 by Paul Mantrop / 12″ x 16″ / Oil on panel
In the early eighties I began my first real introduction to sketching the Canadian landscape. I joined the “Tom Thomson Canoe Club” at my local high school. My first trip, to the beautiful lakes around Pointe Au Baril, was run by an inspirational art teacher John Blaise, and it introduced me to two traditions that continue to be essential to my work: canoeing and sketching. It was a fantastic experience learning to work with a group, painting together, and sleeping under the stars. Later, at St Andrew’s College, I met lifelong friends and fellow artists. We continued on together to the Ontario College of Art, and after a year of working together in Florence, Italy, we formed the painting collective Drawnonward. Over the last 25 years, our group continued (on a much larger scale) the same ritual I began in high school. We travelled to some of the most captivating corners of our country by bus, plane, train, and canoe. And everywhere I went, I sketched. It’s a challenge, but it’s the only way I know how to capture our landscapes honestly. The sketches on display today are an expression of that process, and in a very small way, my contribution to a long and beautiful Canadian tradition of going, seeing, and sketching.