Painting the newsmakers

There are two paintings that I've had to sit on until now, as they were both done for the Newsmakers of the Year edition of YMM magazine.  Now that this second anniversary issue has been released (Can you believe it's only been two years? It feels like YMM has been a part of this community for years), I can post and share the process of creating portraits of the Liberal candidate in this year's federal by-election, Kyle Harrietha, and arguably, the most schismatic figure on municipal council, Guy Boutilier.

I painted Kyle, also General Manager of the Metis Local #1935 and a fellow Leadership Wood Buffalo alum, on September 21st.  I only know this because I took pictures as the process went along and thankfully, the photos are dated.

I quite like how it turned out, and would have to say that it is probably in my personal top five list of favourite paintings that I've done.

Painting Guy Boutilier was a similar process, done just a few days later, on September 24th.  I first contacted the Fort McMurray Today to get permission to reference one of their published photographs taken by reporter Vincent McDermott.  I'm grateful to have received the blessing of the editor to proceed.

Photo by Vincent McDermott, Fort McMurray Today
I particularly like this shot taken in council chambers because it is rather neutral.  Mr. Boutilier is focused, intent, and serious.  What issue was being discussed or item debated is left to the viewer to imagine.

The result is somewhat darker than the previous portrait, but still compelling.  This is a person who has been under public scrutiny most of his adult life.

That Guy Boutilier affected our world and was a significant newsmaker in 2014, is beyond question.

I'm proud of the talented artists who participated in this special edition of YMM magazine.  Liana Wheeldon, David Ball and Erin Stinson all have expressed a piece of Fort McMurray history, each with their own unique style and artistic voice.

I'm grateful to Krista Balsom and her team at YMM for giving us the opportunity.


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