This month’s Canada 150 illustration provided a challenge I haven’t yet encountered. Ontario is the first province in my series that didn’t have an official animal. If you’re Canadian, you’re probably trying to hold back your shock and amazement that one of the first official provinces of this great country, didn’t manage to get around to naming an official animal for itself. I know, it’s craziness, but we’re just gonna have to let this one slide. Lucky for you Ontario, one of the most iconic Canadian animals is on your coat of arms so you’re safe…this time.
If this is the first post you are seeing in this series, you can read more about it on my previous posts here. Now on to the symbols represented and a few process shots.
The title of the piece is a translation of the Latin Ut incepit fidelis sic permanent, which is the official motto of Ontario.
Animal – Moose
As mentioned above, the moose is not the official animal of Ontario but is depicted on the official coat of arms. Moose can be in most areas in the province, though their numbers have been challenged due to a variety of factors including, climate change, hunting, parasites, and predators.
Bird – Common Loon
This striking black and white bird has the pleasure of not only being the official bird of Ontario but is also featured on the Canadian $1 coin also known as the “loonie.” Known for its eerie call, the loon was named an official emblem to the province in 1994.
Flower – White Trillium
The white trillium flower has an emblematic history dating back to 1937 when it was chosen as a national floral emblem for graves of Canadian servicemen in the First World War overseas. It also appears as part of the official logo for the province.
Gemstone – Amethyst
Found in clusters around Ontario, amethyst was chosen a symbol of wealth for the province and was named official mineral in 1975. Cavities of this form of quartz crystal in areas near Thunder Bay were created as far back as over one billion years ago.
Lastly, I included a strong water element in this illustration because of the amount of water surrounding the province, between the Great Lakes, rivers, and Hudson Bay.
You never realize how weird-looking or beautiful something is until you spend hours staring at it. This drawing showed me both of those things and even turned something I thought was weird-looking (you know who you are, moose) into something beautiful. Nature really is fantastically amazing. There are so many weird and crazy creature out in this big world of ours and they all have something about them that in my opinion is just beautiful in their design.
I entertained creating my drawing around just the loon in my initial sketches, but I didn’t love it for this particular series. That being said, be prepared for potential loons in my future work because I absolutely fell in love with the aesthetic of this bird.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know how big of a fan I am of Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watercolour pencils. I find that they have increasingly become a big part of what I’ve been using in my illustrations. I love that I can use them to establish undertones in textures and animal fur as well as for areas of gradation, like in the background of this piece.
Thanks to everyone for sticking with me and for your kind words and support over on Facebook and Instagram. I still have 9 more pieces to go, but I’m loving the journey with every single one of them!
Stay tuned for next month’s province, Quebec!
Prints available in my Society6 shop!