Shawnigan Lake Paintings

In 1992 the Auld Kirk Gallery in Shawnigan Lake held an exhibition of my paintings. I decided to pay some attention to the village of Shawnigan Lake Village. It reminded me of my childhood summers in Ontario and the lovely holiday atmosphere of small towns by the lake. All that had changed in Ontario, but Shawnigan still had the feeling. I decided to paint the town as I found it.

Lately I’ve been renewing my acquaintance with Shawnigan and I decided to create a new series of Shawnigan paintings in which i have tried to capture the atmosphere that meant so much to me.

Approach to Shawnigan Lake Village

Since the building of the Trans-Canada Highway Shawnigan Lake has been well off the beaten track. This painting shows the approach to the village, with Jalna’s Diner on the left, the green walls of the Shawnigan Lake Museum deep in the center, the gas station beside it, and the laundromat in an old Quonset hut behind the stop sign on the right. (acrylic on wood, 18” x 24”) $1400.

Approach to Shawnigan Lake - acrylic on wood, 18” x 24” $1400

Aitken Fraser Store

As I am neither a resident nor a historian of Shawnigan Lake I don’t have much information about the town. When artist E. J. Hughes moved to Shawnigan Lake with his wife Fern in 1951, his only link with the outside world was a weekly walk - two kilometers - into “town” to pick up his mail. CBC television made a film about Hughes in 1961, which shows him coming out of Aitken & Fraser and walking down the road to the left on his way home. (acrylic on wood, 12 x 24 inches) $1400. 

Aitken Fraser Store (acrylic on wood, 12 x 24 inches) $1400.

Shawnigan Lake Esso

When I photographed this gas station in 1992 it seemed to me like a slice of the past. The wooden awning built out over the gas pumps was certainly old-fashioned but what really caught my attention was the grease pit. The service bay on the left side of the station had the floor excavated so that a mechanic could get down under your car - there was no hydaulic lift. The pit was inevitably dark and oily, yet just outside the quaint wood-framed windows the sun sparkled off the waters of the lake. (acrylic on wood) 12” x 24” $1400.

Shawnigan Lake Esso (acrylic on wood) 12” x 24” $1400.

Mason's Store, Shawnigan Lake

In an age of strictly controlled corporate identities it is refreshing to see that some clever entrepreneur took matters of signage and architecture into his own hands. The store is directly across the road from the most popular public beach on the lake, and a number of overnight rentals. The clientele is seasonal but on some weekends this place really rocks. (acrylic on wood, 18” x 24”) $850. 

Mason’s Store, Shawnigan Lake (acrylic on wood, 18” x 24”) $850.

Mason's Beach

Mason’s Beach is directly across from Mason’s Store. I painted this scene on location while my children paddled and played. The active waterfront could hardly be described as “wilderness” and the atmosphere is enlivened with shrieks and splashes all day. In the painting,, out beyond the water-skier, the far shore of Shawnigan Lake fronts a view of Old Baldy, a prominent feature on the east side of the lake.

Mason’s Beach (watercolour, 15” x 22”) $850.