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An Exhibit of Watercolours - Remembering Bob Paterson
Written by Brenda Grundt   
Friday, 22 March 2013 16:01

Bob was born in Saskatchewan, but grew up in Sudbury. He has had a life long love affar with art beginning with his attending the Ontario College of Art. After graduating, he worked with Inuit printmakers at Cape Dorset, and then taught at Georgian College before retiring in 1978 to devote himself to creating his own works of art. Somewhere inbetween he was an assistant to Ronald York Wilson on the Imperial Oil & Hummingbird Centre Murals. 

He wrote a wonderful book for aspiring artists,  "abstract concept of drawing" which was used for a time as a high school text.

In 1984, Bob and his wife, Marion moved to Hawk Junction. There Bob became a vital part of life in Hawk Junction. He taught local kids from the "Old Bunk House", which burnt down in 1987. He published a small book "Children of Hawk Junction" which was liberally sprinkled with candid photography. He created two calendars, each month a new vista of Wawa and the area. Local "characters" became cameos featured in a weekly column in the Algoma News. Later those columns were collected and published in "Faces and Voices". 

A prolific artist favouring pencil sketches and watercolours, Bob was seen many times at different spots - these would be seen later at Bob's annual "Exhibit of Watercolours" at the Legion Hall standing on tall easels. You had to be quick at these shows though... Bob's stuff went fast, before you knew it the "S" for sold was tagged, and the selection dwindled. I always thought that an auction would have been quite successful, because if you watched, people would walk in, thread their way through the easels - then pause, look intently, then gaze down - and you could see the face change if they were too late; or with pleasure as they turned on their heels and found Bob to make for arrangements to pick it up after the show. That was one thing, over the years, many came just to admire the art, some finally, finding the piece that was perfect for them.

The other thing that made Bob's work unique was the small tag underneath each... it told you of his thoughts of that particular piece. Sometimes it was a tossup which was better - the artwork or the quip!

"Snowing on Wawa Lake - Falling snow is often poetic unless one is trying to see the road while driving somewhere in a hurry. I think most would agree that falling snow on a winters' day does look good, as that is what winter is all about, for we need it for so many reasons. With watercolour paintings, white is not normally used, and so to present white items such as snow, falling or otherwise, one must paint around the shapes, allowing the white of the paper to do the job.

A Light Breeze - This painting is a view of the eastern end of Wawa Lake where a light breeze from the west is a common thing. It is a very pleasant corner of the world as I have tried to suggest something of the atmosphere there on a summer day. At the time there was a young couple and a large dog having a picnic on the rock. They appeared quite small in the vast landscape that surrounded them.

On The Road Again - Highway 101 is a pleasantly twisting road, like life. In the fall it is even more pleasant as the road ribbons along the side of the lake and amongst the hills, enhanced by the golds and sunlight and moments of brilliance. It seems not possible to get the exact desired effect, but it is always interesting to try as it is always interesting to travel along on a fine autumn day. Sometimes a view seems better from the centre of the road, but that isn't a good place to work apparently." 

One tag (Birch Tree) featured Bob explaining about his work to prepare for a show, "It is always a big job trying to put together an exhibit of this nature each year, but it is one that I find very important. It obliges me to make decisions about so many things that have been worked on over the past months., accepting some and rejecting some. Several paintings are seen to require more work and serious consideration. Every exhibit is important."

Wawa's vistas were featured out of town as well. In 2002 the Art Gallery of Algoma featured his work, Bob held a well attended show in Thunder Bay during the fall of 2005, and in 2009. The show in 2009 had the long title of "Robert Paterson : Interpretive Realist Watercolors Conveying the Spirit of Northern Ontario Scenery". 

Bob passed away Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at his home in Hawk Junction. He will be missed. If you didn't have the fortune to view his work, there is a gallery of his work through the years as captured by Wawa-news.

View this photo set on Flickr



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