Canada’s birthday has come and gone but the party is still going over here! I’ve now hit the official half-way mark in my Canada 150 series and am moving into the Maritime provinces. New Brunswick posed a challenge as it doesn’t have many official symbols that fall within the animal/nature related subject matter that my illustrations are based around. Luckily for me, the composition for this piece was one I could see quite clearly in my head.
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 Spem Reduxit, which is the official motto of New Brunswick.
Bird – Black Capped Chickadee
This small, distinctive bird, was adopted as the provincial bird in 1983. The New Brunswick Federation of Nationalists held a contest that determined it the winner.
Flower – Purple Violet
The Purple Violet became the official floral symbol of the province in 1936, through the combined efforts of the Women’s Institute, Lieutenant Governor, and province’s schoolchildren.
Tree – Balsam Fir
In 1987, the balsam fir was adopted as a symbol of the province. Best known as an ideal Christmas Tree, it also plays a strong role in the provincial lumber industry and manufacturing of high-quality papers.
Unofficial – White Tailed Deer
The white tailed deer makes an appearance on the province’s coat of arms. Since the deer was featured quite prominently as the official symbol of Saskatchewan, I included just the antlers intertwined with the other symbols, to reference its importance without it being a repetition of the other piece.
Balance in a composition is always very important. I wanted to create a symmetrical piece but with subtle nuances that were not quite as rigidly mirrored. (This composition is actually partially based on a painting I did in a dream I had, but that’s a story for another time.) Though the black capped chickadee is a small song bird, I wanted to show it as having a strong presence. The Maritime provinces in Canada are among the smallest but New Brunswick is the largest of the cluster of three.
My process was the same as usual for this piece starting with a pencil sketch and then light pad transferring and inking the lines.
I relied pretty heavily this time around on using Faber-Castell PITT Pens for the areas with a flat base color. I still prefer the Albrecht Dürer colored pencils for areas I want to create more of a gradation of colors such as the antler and the background area behind the birds.
I noticed as I started filling in the color that the wreath of balsam fir was feeling a little more sparse than I wanted. I ended up adding more areas in the give it a fuller look. Something about it felt flimsy in comparison to the strong stance of the birds, so I made the decision to make that adjustment. Similarly, I added more of the circular pattern that is present all of the series. I felt like they were too evenly spaced in my initial transfer and I want it to feel like it has more of a presence to it. The circles represent the voyage through the provinces and territories and the collective life force of the species that make up this beautiful country.
I hope you are enjoying the series and the insight into my creative process with these pieces. Share with me in the comments what your favorite has been so far!
Prints available in my Society6 shop!