Conservation on Canvas
A PERSONAL CHALLENGE COMES TO COMPLETION
BY: BETHANY YOUNG, STEWARDSHIP MANAGER
With throngs of people lining up to get Michael McEwing’s autograph, and the New Brunswick Museum full of bright natural landscapes, camera flashes, laughter and stories of these conserved areas around the province, the Conservation on Canvas touring exhibition was launched.
Michael’s reflections during the grand opening event were a tribute to a lifelong friendship between the Nature Trust and this talented artist and art educator:
"Nature continues to be a central theme in my art. A deep respect and love of nature has always been an important part of my life. The Conservation on Canvas project started as a personal challenge to discover new areas of New Brunswick landscape and seascape that I had yet to capture in paint. Early on, it began to dawn on me that this project would become about more than just exploring and painting nature preserves. It has become just as much about the incredible people who have joined me on the journey.
The Nature Trust of New Brunswick staff, board members, stewards, and volunteers have provided a wealth of knowledge and inspiration along the way. What I have gained from them is now embedded in the works themselves— aesthetic and ecological passion. My hope is that this exhibition will be a testament to what the Nature Trust of New Brunswick is working so hard to conserve. This series invites the viewer to join me on this adventure of discovering the wide diversity and unique ecology of these outstanding nature preserves. What started as an art project is now something much more—a friendship with an organization that I expect will be a lifelong one."
- Michael McEwing
Featuring preserves from Grand Manan and Blacks Harbour to Shea Lake, the Conservation on Canvas exhibition is a diverse showcase of New Brunswick’s landscapes and biodiversity. In partnership with the New Brunswick Museum and the Nature Trust, the goal of the project is to raise awareness of the natural diversity across the province and to celebrate land conservation as a means of ensuring these landscapes remain protected.
The exhibition remained at the New Brunswick Museum until mid-January 2018. It then travelled to the Andrew & Laura McCain Art Gallery in Florenceville-Bristol, the Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre in Saint Andrews, the Grand Manan Art Gallery and the Grand Manan Museum. The exhibition tour concluded at Government House in Fredericton in fall, 2018. Art-in-nature workshops on nature preserves will accompany the exhibition at each location, led by McEwing, fellow artists, and naturalists, that will allow guests to deepen their knowledge of local biodiversity and create their own masterpieces.
In honour of the Nature Trust’s 30th anniversary, we celebrate the discovery of nature preserves by an artist’s creative expression. May these works of art inspire reflection on our province’s natural heritage and allow a greater understanding of the importance of nature in the lives of all New Brunswickers.