by Stefan Bell, Ottawa, Ontario. Painted in 1988, at 77 East Main Street
(facing Cross Street), 37' by 16'. Bell used what he described as a realistic
technique in portraying the "Hector" tugboat, used during the 1920s to
pull ships and barges through the Old Welland Canal. Using soft and subtle
blending, the bright colours attract people, enhance the image and provide
a vivid contrast to the grey buildings.
main concept was to show the old boats of the waterways in their primary
locations: out on the lake, going through the canals/up rivers, and docking
for loading/unloading. The graphic bars divide the three boats in their
separate situations, whereas the sky above and water below unite all the
elements into one picture. The blue graphic colour that surrounds the three
boats helps to frame the three pictures and accents the main colour in
a seaman's life. My trademark as a painter/juggler is always to include
a juggling element in every painting. So, as you notice, three juggling
balls and a cigar box are painted on the wooden dock."
mural is accessible to everyone. It becomes a public experience and they
can watch the growth of the mural from beginning to end. The public becomes
part of your process and you also become an entertainer or showman. The
magnitude of the mural makes you aware of how insignificant you are and
just as one tiny element of the mural, you the artist, are also one tiny
fragment contributing to a better world in a selfless way!"
Virtual Guide's Comments
main impression here is of the jauntiness of the tugboats. They seem to
exude an unbridled confidence in the future of the canal and Welland. The
opaque windows and the upswept bows suggest smiling faces, personifying
the tugs. They appear to be happy as they go about their business, apparently
without interference from humans. The mural seems to be a celebration of
the tools of the canal trade.
the Artist: Stefan Bell, Ottawa, Ontario
is a man of many talents, not the least of which is juggling. He performed
professionally for eight years. He is also known as Ballini: The Great
Fake Juggling Clown. He was trained by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum
and Bailey Circus. He spent 20 years as a commercial artist, designing,
illustrating, building models and doing other technical graphic artwork.
He then shifted his emphasis to fine arts.
said painting murals appealed to him because it gave him the opportunity
to get out of the office. He has painted two murals in Creston, British
Columbia. One of these was the largest and most complex mural in Canada
(100' by 30') and took one year to complete.
has had art shows in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary and received two Canadian
Graphic Arts Awards. Stefan also produced the first Canadian juggling magazine.