My Favourite Mountie Painting

I’m back! For all my readers (hi mom!), I should explain that I was on vacation last week in lovely, sunny Cuba. It was a wonderful break from our mild but dreary Toronto winter. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a photo I took looking out my home office window a few weeks ago:

Toronto winter

Yipee.

Now here’s a photo of the sunset on our last evening in Cuba:

Cuba sunset

That's more like it.

Although it’s good to be home I still feel sluggish. Therefore, today I’m going to lazily post some photos tell you about my favourite Mountie painting. I can’t believe I forgot to mention it when I wrote about my Mountie collection before, since this painting has been on my walls since I was sixteen. If I remember correctly, my dad picked it up at a yard sale. He knew I liked Mounties, and he was smitten by the painting’s iconic image and overly dramatic staging. For me, it was love at first site:

Mountie painting

The Mountie and his noble steed.

She’s a beaut, ain’t she? Everything art critics would tell you – that the figures are too rigid, the setting cliché, the whole thing is kitchy – is true. I don’t think that this is a particularly good painting. But, BUT, what it lacks in artistic sophistication it makes up for in enthusiasm. There’s a signature on the bottom that says “J. Hamilton”. I’d like to believe the artist was an older man who was a hobby painter. One day he decided to paint the most noble, upright (very upright – he’s almost jumping off his horse) Mountie he could imagine. He put his subject in the classic Canadian wilderness where grass, meadows, mountains and clouds meet sky.

mountie painting close up

I love how the clouds arrange themselves with almost heavenly reverence around the Mountie. I love how the horse is restless, but the Mountie sits with complete poise and control. It’s all pretty great. You might not respect me for admiring this painting so much, but that is the risk we all take when we find original art and put it on our walls. At the end of the day, I think it’s much more interesting to have questionable but well loved original art, versus bland and mass produced consumer art.

Mountie painting close up

You sir, are a true Canadian hero.

My Mountie painting is not so loved by my husband, but then again he once bought a frame to properly display an “A-Team” poster so I take his opinion with a grain of salt. He really likes other folk art, and I admit this particular piece has a niche appeal. For the RCMP fan, however, it’s the Mona Lisa of Mountie art. If my hallway were the Louvre, this baby would be the star attraction.

2 responses

  1. Truly majestic, and an inspiration to all Canadians. Actually, to clarify I bought it at the Flamboro Spring Antique show held at the Aberfoyle market near Guelph from dealer Wayne Ross of Land and Ross Antiques. I remember he was almost apologetic for having it, but I told him I thought it was beautiful and I knew someone who would feel just the same. “One man’s Kitsch is another mans Kitchen.”

  2. Thanks for the clarification Shadflyguy. I will have to ask Wayne if he remembers that particular painting next time I see him. I’m certainly happy you thought of me and picked it up. It was obviously meant to be in my permanent collection!

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