Nessa Herman and Albert Anderson posed for "Red Coats on the Prairie" alluding to the history of the North West Mounted Police in Western Canada.

RFM McInnis in his Winnipeg studio - 2014

Left, Joe Brown with RFM McInnis - Winnipeg 2014

Joe Brown was an art student with me in Saint John New Brunswick and discovered me living in Winnipeg where he had been since 1965.  I was glad to reacquaint myself with my old friend after forty odd years.


That was where A.Y. Jackson visited me when this photo  was taken. That was 1965.

I in turn visited Jackson in his McLaren Street studio which then was two large, dark, front rooms, with a bedroom and a kitchen, the main floor of a house. That was my initiation  into Canadian Art and Art History.

I was 23.

Studios come in every size imaginable. I’ve worked in one room, the same room I slept in during my Toronto days; had a top floor in a house in Calgary; built a western false-front style studio in my back yard in Edmonton; and declared my whole 12 acre property as my studio at Connemara, half way between Cayley and Nanton, Alberta.

In Winnipeg, we bought a three unit apartment using the top floor as studio, the basement suite as art storage and studio, and live on the main floor. It is the best of all the studios because of the large windows and bright sun pouring in, with north light necessary for consistency at the back.

In the North studio, Visma Mesley, modeled for several sessions,

Model Rachel Jehn,  posed for many sessions.

The furnishings of a studio are best kept simple when it is the figure one paints. Interior settings have to be considered, as well as drapery. Usually I have various favourite chairs and the patterned drapery with which to cover them, to create variety. A small chesterfield has also been important, and a cot for reclining poses. A model’s “wardrobe department” with a variety of outfits is also necessary.  

All this takes space, not to mention an area for “shipping and handling” where canvases can be stretched, primed, framed, wrapped, packed and shipped. It is also nice to have a greeting space for display of art work and in which to greet visitors. Our whole house, thus, becomes our studio.

Françoise Cardinal first posed for two days while visiting Calgary in 1982.

In Winnipeg, 33 years later, Françoise still enjoys posing.

When one hasn't a model, one always has oneself.

It was in the bedroom of an apartment of Montreal Road in Ottawa that I made my first studio by pulling out the bottom drawer of the bureau and propping up the large, shellacked panel of hardboard on it.  Seated on the bed, I painted Group of Seven-like, copying the small oil sketches I had made previously by walking to Rockcliffe Park and environs and painting in the woods above the Ottawa River.