Last week I created my first Live Cityscape at the wonderful Black Creek Pioneering Village in Toronto. I had visited this open-air, historical museum a few years ago and in doing so discovered how courageous settlers in the 18th and 19th centuries made their home in the hostile, mosquito infested forests, braved the brutal Canadian winters and scorching summers, carving out new lives using the abundant, natural resources at their disposal.
I was therefore delighted to be asked to create a Cityscape illustration and product range featuring the Canadian pioneering village, which had been reconstructed out of a conglomeration of original buildings in Ontario including settlers’ homes and work places such as blacksmiths, printers, shops, a school and farm and barns. We actually have a print from the printers in our home in England!
My child like and spirited style of illustration fits perfectly with the historical theme and harks back to naïve North American art of the colonials themselves. The colour palette used on the design reflects its rustic charm. Above all, I love drawing the animals as well as the people in costume that relay the stories of the settlers from the village. A Canadian Goose flies low over a horse and wagon that’s making its way down into Black Creek. Chickens cluck as they’re being fed by the farmer’s wife at the Strong Family’s Second Home, which is also where a mother teaches her daughter how to use the spinning wheel.
I was then asked to create a Live Cityscape at Black Creek, which was organised by my licensees, Carmen and Winnie from Lifestyle Market. The most engaging part of creating a Live Cityscape is the interaction I get with children who are visiting the museum. I like to see what has caught their eye at the museum and I ask them to draw along with me!
Some of the drawings are amazing … full of energy and insight. I particularly like these multi coloured geese swimming on the pond and next to my two cats Bibi and Bobby that somehow made it into the design. And check out that confident and well-defined script that little Jordan drew of Black Creek!
The final canvas will be kept on display in the gift shop where there is a wonderful selection of products that carry the design, including tea towels, pin badge sets, tote bags and ceramic mugs.
The last year has been challenging for many as we adjust to living in a time of heightened insecurity and restricted freedoms...