John Crittenden Acorns

Painting and Photographing
the History of Western Canada

John Crittenden
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For more than half a century Canadian artist John Crittenden has been the only living artist who has never wavered from painting and recording the early history of Western Canada. “It's beyond sad to me that there's not more interest in preserving what’s left of our Canadian heritage."

Dedicating his entire career to fighting this trend, John's work records the story of a people who came to Canada to escape the oppression and suppression of the kings and moneychangers of European society and ended up building a new life that was transformed by the land itself and the aboriginal people who lived on it and who so easily accepted them.

More than 1200 paintings produced and sold

Many of John's paintings have sold over the years to visiting collectors from Europe who's grandparents and great grandparents actually built some of the subjects he paints. Old log homes and barns, country churches, line shacks, and whole settlements that have now become ghost towns, each hand built in the styles and techniques of old Europe, tell a compelling story that begs to be remembered. Since his first one-person show at Lambs Art Gallery in Calgary, Alberta in 1966 John has told this story consistently in his own original style and in so doing has produced and sold more than 1,200 paintings.

Artist's Statement

"All across Canada I see beautiful old barns and ranch houses off in one corner of a field just sitting there, slowly disappearing back into the land. I also notice beautiful old homes in cities I visit and even whole settlements, now ghost towns, that are suffering the same fate. These need to be honoured. Honouring them shows respect for an age we came from, that nurtured us, and made us what we are today. They will soon be gone and forgotten. I dedicate my work to their remembrance."

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Chief Dan George
Chief Dan George
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Limited edition Giclées on paper and canvas

We are proud to offer signed and numbered Limited edition Giclées on paper and canvas of a few of the paintings John has produced over his career.

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Our limited editions
are now available through
Logo
PaintedTurtleArtPrints.ca
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A unique, one-of-a-kind style

A private and gifted artist, John's style is traditional, free-flowing and earthy. His strong use of earth colours is what sets his work apart in both his paintings and photography. There is nothing quite like it in contemporary Canadian art today.

John has had many one-person shows in venues ranging from commercial galleries to museums, Expo 86, the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede and the National Art Centre to name a few and his work has appeared in many magazines and books over the years.

In addition to a long career as a professional artist and gallery painter John is also a journeyman prepress specialist and photographer.

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Canada West Collection

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Mountain Man, Rocky Mountains
Mountain Man, Rocky Mountains
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Sentinel
Sentinel
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This collection records the early history of a land that stretches from the prairies and foothills of Alberta to the pacific coast rainforests of British Columbia.

The Mountain Man, or fur trapper, roamed the North American Rocky Mountains from about 1810 to the early 1840s. Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, Jim Clyman and Edward Rose are names that, to this day, are still associated with this tough, romantic era in history. The Mountain Man, very much a loner, seems to radiate the individuality and spirit of the early visitors to the Canadian West and the Canada West Collection. The Sentinel is a wonderful example of the minimalist period in John's career when he limited his palette to only three earthy colours.

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History of Transportation

"the Official Portfolio of Limited Edition Prints for Expo 86"

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Mountain Man
Simon Fraser, Voyageur Canoe
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This major collection includes a new release of signed and numbered limited edition Giclées on paper and canvas from "the official portfolio of limited edition prints for Expo 86."

This collection received the endorsement of Expo 86, the Government of British Columbia and General Motors of Canada and was presented to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales by the Honourable Claude Richmond, Minister of Tourism, on behalf of Expo 86 and the Government of British Columbia. It was featured in many shows across Canada including the Expo 86 site, the McLaughlin Museum in Oshawa and the National Art Centre in Ottawa among others.

"The History of Transportation chronicles the early history of man's attempts to move about this land called Canada, from the first visit of the Vikings in their ship, the Karv, in AD 900, to the first mercy flight in Canadian aviation history in 1930. It conveys the romance, mystery and dedication of man's constant commitment to master the great distances of his world as a personal activity, a social service and an industry." Claude Richmond, Minister of Tourism.

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Photographing Canada at Night

After painting more than 1200 paintings I yearned for something new. Not that I wanted to stop painting, I just wanted a new challenge. Then, after losing part of my sight to macular degeneration I was forced to make a decision because I could no longer paint. I've alwys loved night photography so I started photographing the streets of Vancouver at night, then flowers at night. Now, after reversing macular degeneration and making plans to paint again, I've decided to do both. I've always done photography as reference for paintings. Now I'm doing it as art.

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A Walk Around Vancouver at Night

Contemplating Vancouver at Night
Contemplating Vancouver at Night
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It has been said that the beauty of old Europe knows no equal. This ongoing collection proves that to be incorrect. Even before the camera Vincent knew: "It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day."

Night in Queen Elizabeth Park
Night, Queen Elizabeth Park
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Photography in its purest sense is an artistic medium and is accepted as such around the world today. Many fine art photographers are also artists. "Fine art photography is sometimes so challenging, at least for me, that I often think it would be easier to just paint it..."

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In Granville Island
Granville Island
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The challenge for the photographer is to compose as much as possible in the camera. Nothing is staged and you often have to return to a location when conditions seem right, when the sun is low in the sky, or when someone is available to "turn on some lights". The term "Night photography" is a misnomer. It should rightly be called "available light photography".

Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography. It is as much a creative process as is painting and sculpture. Limited edition photography is now accepted as an art form worldwide.

I hope to continue this collection by visiting as many cities and towns as I can beginning in Western Canada and continuing on to Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Flowers at Night

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Mountain Man
Explosion of Colors in the Night
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I've heard some say that flowers don't bloom at night. I've come to realize that they do. Nature keeps to her own timetable and flowers in particular seem to decide on their own about a lot of things.

Many will close up when it gets dark, perhaps for protection, perhaps just for a rest. But I've seen several that stay open for an hour or so after it gets completely dark, some even longer. Flowers at Night are some of those. You just have to be there at the right time I guess.

Some flowers even remain in bloom all night, and disappear as soon as the first rays of sun hit them. Evening Primrose is indigenous to North America. Moom Flowers, Night Gladiolus, various Lilies to name a few. Some Catus can also be found blooming at night. The night truly is a magic time for a photographer and you just never know when you might see one of those little fairies some people I know talk about.

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Copyright © 1998 to 2014 by John Crittenden. All rights reserved.