Art in our most personal spaces has a purpose.

At first glance the answer seems obvious: we want to surround ourselves with beautiful things, right?

Initially, the person who created the art work might be a secondary consideration. The colours and subject matter are first to grab our attention. Maybe we are spellbound by the magical scene the artist has created on canvas or by the bewitching eyes in a portrait.  Only after that first attraction will we see the artist's signature.

On the other hand, if we are really trying to make a conscientious purchase, we might seek out specific artists within the local community, or attend an art show, or visit an art gallery.

Even searching online for artists will reveal unimaginable choices and artistic styles.

Why we display art: it reveals something of our true words needed.

If you are like me, maybe you purchase art that brings to mind wonderful memories.

Crack the Whip by Canadian artist Joyce Kellock
"Crack the Whip" by Canadian artist Joyce Kellock.


“Crack the Whip” by Joyce Kellock reminds me of skating as a child on frozen lakes in northern Ontario. I had a similar hat like the girl in the blue hat in the painting. My brother and our friends are painted here, at least, I think so.

Nostalgia in a painting...

As children, we would spend hours on a frozen lake (Nipissing) in northern Ontario playing this game until our toes froze and our cheeks were beet red while our parents were ice fishing. The person at the head of the whip tried to spin us around on ice until the whip would break (one of us would let go). We would each get our turn at the head of the line to attempt to break the whip.

When we tired of this game, a cup of hot chocolate near the fire in the little cabin would provide another boost of energy and we would head back out again.  Ahhh, these were the days before technology took over our lives. No selfies here. Not even a photograph of those memorable days exists anywhere.

Is it any wonder then that "Crack the Whip" has such meaning for me...

When I bought the painting, the artist was already very accomplished, so much so that her paintings of children were known as “The Kellock Kids”.

"Crack the Whip" tells our guests that we are from the north: our childhood memories include games played in the cold outdoors.

Joyce Kellock biography.

Joyce Kellock, a native of Montreal, was the daughter of Alex McLaren, a Canadian artist and illustrator. As a young artist, she studied under Arthur Lismer, of the Group of Seven, and Anne Savage at the Museum of Fine Art.

Her artwork was chosen for UNICEF cards, and Canada's Governor General of the time, purchased her work. Well known hockey commentator Ron Maclean is also a proud owner of her artwork. I didn’t know this at the time nor would I have cared.  All I knew was that the painting evoked so many memories of skating on crisp ice, on a bitterly cold northern Ontario day.


Winter in Ottawa by Anna Jalava, Canadian artist.
Winter in Ottawa by Anna Jalava, Canadian artist.

Art highlights a unique setting.

Anna Jalava’s 16 x 20 “Winter in Ottawa” is meaningful for our family because, well Skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa Canada.obviously, we live in Ottawa, but more than that, we have skated countless times over the years on the Rideau Canal Skateway.  If you check this link, you will see the actual Fairmont Chateau Laurier and the canal on which this painting is based.

Whenever we talk with friends of winter activities, skating on the canal is always mentioned as a favourite memory. This painting has been on display in the front entrance of our home for over 20 years.

Anna Jalava Biography

Anna Jalava immigrated to Canada from Helsinki, Finland in 1952. She is one of many artists in her family, and her paintings are found all around the continent.

The Jalava family especially focused their attention on the Georgian Bay and Muskoka regions; however, Anna, was well known in the Ottawa area for capturing the spirit of the land in her paintings of local scenes, both city and rural. (Koyman Galleries)

Art tells the story of a landscape.

My recent purchase, (September 2020) by local artist Josée Francoeur. “Bouleaux sur la Rivière Coulonge, Quebec” is a painting that celebrates the vast, pristine beauty of Canadian forests and lakes.

The river snaking its way through lush green Boreal forests, the steel grey skies, the birch trees in the foreground all remind me of the scenery along the Ottawa River and further up north, heading towards Mattawa, Ontario.

I saw Josée’s exhibit at the Shenkman Centre in Ottawa last year (2019) but I fell in love with her colourful scenes and joyful brushstrokes several years before that. “Birch Trees on Coulonge River, Quebec” was another painting that reminded me of home. Nostalgia once again has taken hold of me!

Josée and I have never met in person but our lives have connected in various ways in the past, something we are just discovering. This painting will be the first one I buy for my new home.

If you would like to see other stunning Canadian landscapes, visit Josée's website.

Here are a few of my own paintings that I display in my home. Guests in my home can see that I love colour!...and dogs, and flowers.

Different works of art proclaim interests within the house.

There are many reasons to display art in our homes.  Beyond the nostalgia of course, other art also might reveal our interests. As an example, many sculptures, paintings, ceramic plates, etc reveal that we have travelled to Spain, Italy, Australia, Mexico, Greece, Morocco…

What does the art in your home reveal about you to those who visit? Remember that art can take many forms including weaving, photography, woodworking...Leave a reply in the box below or contact me.  I would love to hear from you!

4 Responses

  • Someone visiting our home would say we must love being outdoors as pretty much most are Australian landscapes, birds or flowers. The only artwork purchased overseas was in Lisbon, two small pieces bought from a young lady at a market. But once you get near my art room, well the variety is endless…

    • I am sure it is all beautiful Sally as I have seen photos of your home over time not to mention all the stunning art work you create! ???

  • My latest post (today) tells of an art purchase when travelling in Europe. The previous post was about a recent purchase. Like you, I am attracted to others’ work which speaks to me, of the past perhaps, a memory…

    • I will find your post Vivienne. I also have paintings from a watercolorist in Florence and some of Venice as well. More memories. ?

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