Zenfolio | Blair T. Paul, AOCAD, OSA | Fine Art | Art and Culture:

Art and Culture:

September 19, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

“Have you really ever considered the role that artists of all sorts play in our modern society?”

I dare say that most people have not.

When I start to teach a painting class I will often pose this question to my students to see what they think.

I usually get the obvious answers like … artists make paintings, sculptures, drawings, but there is much ,much more to be said.

Would we know anything of the life of early Man if artists had not recorded  the images of animals that they hunted and rituals they carried out? Take a look some time at the amazing drawings created in the caves of Altamira and Lascaux.

Who were these primitive, yet so sophisticated artists? We will never know, but we can still marvel at the works they left behind. Their art has enlightened us all these many centuries later, and immortalized the artists.

Bison, Cave of AltamiraA cave in Spain famous for its Upper Paleolithic cave paintings

Since the invention of paper by the Chinese around 220 BC, people have drawn on it and written on it. We should be very glad that they did, otherwise much history would be lost.

Remember that until around the mid 19th. Century photography did not exist. If it were not for early artists who recorded the ordinary, and extraordinary facets of life through writing and drawing, we would know nothing about the lives of our ancestors.

A piece of art can tell you what the people looked like, what they wore, where they lived, what they ate and drank, what they did for fun, what they believed in and treasured etc.

Early Canadian Homestead, 1859Cornelius Krieghoff.

I like to remind my students that other creative artists who make our lives so pleasant are architects , and three of my favourites are Frank Ghery, Douglas Cardinal, and Moshe Safdie.

If you google the names of these men you will see some of the amazing structures they have designed. I look at their work as large scale sculpture; not simply buildings.

Guggenheim Museum, BilbaoFrank Ghery


The Museum of Civilization, GatineauDouglas Cardinal

The National Gallery of Canada, OttawaMoshe Safdie

Then we also must consider the industrial designers who design all of the domestic products that we rush out to by.

A toaster, a car, a new gown, a TV, a duvet...whatever it is, the hand and mind of a creative artist were involved.

Graphic designers create colourful, effective advertising that we all see every day in the form of billboards, book and magazine covers, corporate logos, greeting cards...you name it.

They are very talented at communicating ideas through images and text.














Of course photographers show us amazing slices of life that most of us would miss.

Their images can take us to far away places that few will ever visit, or record the events and faces of people who make a difference in our world.

Traditional Sing Sing Ceremony, Kairiru Island, Papua New Guinea.Sing Sing Ceremony, Papua New GuineaC. MacFarlane

Destination- Sing Sing at Kairiru IslandDestination- Sing Sing at Kairiru Island, Papua New GuineaC. MacFarlane

Interior designers create pleasing environments that we all enjoy, whether its a grand public space, a comfortable family home, or a school room where education takes place.

Some creative, intelligent person must decide on the best colour scheme, the most effective lighting, and of course how to maximize the comfort level of those using the space.

Is there anyone who does not enjoy reading a poem or a thrilling mystery, listening to music, regardless of the genre, or watching a graceful ballet on stage?

When you watch a really good movie, just think of all the artists it took to create it...actors, directors, make up artists, wardrobe designers, sound specialists, editors, special effects people etc. all contributed their artistic expertise to what you are enjoying.

Christopher PlummerChristopher PlummerTORONTO OUT December 15, 2010-Actor Christopher Plummer does a few scenes from Barrymore as part of a photo call at the Elgin Theatre. TORONTO STAR/TANNIS TOOHEY

Go to The National Gallery of Canada, the commercial art galleries, studio vernissages, and see what artists are saying through their work.

Meet and talk to the artists when ever you can, as they are wonderful people! When you travel to other countries, do the same thing.

It's the best way to connect to the people and their culture.

Alex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, 1965, acrylic emulsion on Masonite, 61.9 × 92.5 cm. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada (no. 14954). Purchased 1966.To Prince Edward Island, Alex ColvilleAlex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, 1965, acrylic emulsion on Masonite, 61.9 × 92.5 cm. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada (no. 14954). Purchased 1966.


Do you know about ACTRA, the Ontario Society of Artists, the Royal Canadian Academy, CARFAC and other arts associations?

If not, take a moment to check them out. They all support, represent and promote Canadian culture. You can too, so have a voice!

Artists must be seen as an absolutely vital part of society; not some fringe group who do these wonderful things as a hobby.

Without public support the Arts, and artists always suffer, so please go to exhibitions, buy art work, listen to good music, read the latest best sellers, visit the theatre, make sure that art programs flourish in all of our schools, and support those who give our world colour and soul.

Did you know that Canada's Culture Sector economic footprint in 2007 was $84.6 billion?
If you wish to know more about the value of Canadian culture go to the following websites.

*The Conference Board of Canada,”Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada's Creative Economy.”

www.theglobeandmail.com  “Canada's creative industries can lead the economic charge...”

Art nourishes and sustains our civilization - without it what would we have...who would we be?


Blair T. Paul, all rights reserved
Edited and posted by: Chris MacFarlane Photography


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Welcome to my blog. 
I'll be writing on a regular basis about my experiences as a painter over the last forty years. I hope you'll share your thoughts and comments with me - it's a great way to be connected.

Blair T. Paul

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