Ken Campbell


oil, canvas
36 x 84 in.
$9,000 CAD

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“I believe painting is an adventure, a journey. Begin with 100 paintings. Love the journey.”

The idea I am conveying with my plants in the canoes is in keeping with the kind of specimen collection done by explorers such as Darwin on The Voyage of the Beagle or the doctor character in the movie Master and Commander. When I was a kid, my Mom used to pinch off a slip of this plant or that plant on hikes in the wilderness to take home for her wild garden. A couple of years ago I saw a film in which David Suzuki did the same with arbutus.

I imagine explorer and mapper David Thompson and company were similarly interested in the indigenous plant life of the new country he was mapping for the Hudson's Bay Company and Great West Company. Thompson, incidentally, is credited with designing the first cedar-strip canoe (like the ones I paint) when he was exploring on the West Coast and there were no birch to make their Montreal-style canoes. He needed a strong light-weight canoe that was easily portaged to explore the various rivers, lakes and inlets.