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v) Floorcloth Painting Series

* I am prepared to make a similarly themed floorcloth painting of any of the images below  if sold already or NFS.

These paintings can be displayed on the wall or on low traffic areas on the floor to maintain their brightness. They have several layers of water-based varnish on them to make them durable and glossy.

Rape of the Northern Cod, acrylic with gloss luster, mixed media, 1995, 55" x 29" $1500


(This was how the situation was viewed and talked about - dire and grave - at the time and still is - to think that Cabot was in these Atlantic waters the cod slowed their ships they were so plentiful. Think about it.) Think about that compared to the moratorium now on again, off again due to low reproduction rates. The DFO (Department of Fisheries) “managed” the Atlantic ground fishery into virtual extinction through greed and on a pretext of conservation. The adult population is perilously diminished and the juveniles are mostly what remains.

The Cod Are Gone - Closed in Canada,

acrylic with gloss luster, mixed media

(continued working on this image as the situation changed for the cod from moratorium to literally a closed fishery - there are reports of the cod making a come back from time to time)

55.5” x 30”

1995 - 2003


I have sold different versions of this floorcloth.

Speaking Seagull in Chester #1 acrylic with gloss lustre on canvas, mixed media, 64" x 39", 1998  SOLD

Limitless Sea? A lie! acrylic with gloss lustre on canvas, 54" x 18" Milton Acorn poem) 2004 - will reproduce a similar one for NFS

Like thanks for the friendship, peach and respect - wampum belt, acrylic with gloss lustre on canvas, 1999. $2500

Fisherman's Last Supper, acrylic with gloss luster, mixed media, 36' x 48", 2001  SOLD

Tobin's Fish Wars - Gunboat Diplomacy, acrylic with gloss luster, mixed media on canvas, 84" x 71", 1996 $5000

 [On Friday, March 3, 1995, after the EU lodged its objection with NAFO, [Fisheries Minister Brian] Tobin announced that the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act regulations had been expanded to make it an offence for Spanish and Portuguese vessels to fish for turbot on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks. [Prime Minister Jean] Chrétien sent a letter to Jacques Santer, the President of the European Commission, to explain the action and to propose a 60-day fishing moratorium for Canadian and European vessels to allow negotiations to take place.

On Monday, March 6, the EU’s reply came in the form of a strongly worded message from the Foreign Affairs Council, which defended the EU’s right to use the objection procedure, restated its commitment to conservation, and condemned the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act as a violation of international law. Spain announced that it would send a naval vessel to protect its vessels. Tobin warned that fisheries enforcement officers would begin seizing Spanish trawlers within 24 hours if they did not stop fishing. The Newfoundland government and the fishing industry were solidly behind the minister.

An immediate confrontation was averted when the Spanish vessels withdrew eastwards, but an EU spokesman affirmed that they were free to continue fishing. On Wednesday, March 8, the trawlers returned and resumed operations. Tobin met with Chrétien and other senior officials to make the case for arresting a Spanish vessel, using force if necessary. André Ouellet [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] and David Collenette, the Minister of National Defence, were “extremely reluctant” to back Tobin’s plan. Gordon Smith, Ouellet’s deputy minister and former ambassador to the EU; James Bartleman, Chretien’s foreign policy advisor; Eddie Goldenberg, his senior policy advisor; and Jocelyne Bourgon, the Clerk of the Privy Council, who “had already had several heated exchanges with Tobin,” all urged the prime minister not to provoke the EU. Chrétien recalls that he “listened to both sides, made up my own mind, and decided to back Tobin” subject to a final diplomatic effort, adding that he kept the minister “in check when I felt he was trying to go too fa

Canadian officials had been keeping a close eye on the Estai, one of several Spanish trawlers fishing on the Nose of the Grand Banks, which had been cited for fishing violations the previous year. Late in the afternoon of March 9, fisheries and RCMP officers seized the Estai after a high seas chase that began when the vessel repelled earlier boarding attempts and cut its net in an effort to escape. The chase ended four hours later when a Canadian fisheries patrol boat, on orders from Ottawa, fired warning shots across its bow. In announcing the arrest, Tobin declared that the government was imposing a moratorium on turbot fishing inside and outside the 200-mile limit. However, Chrétien agreed with a suggestion from the French ambassador, whose country held the presidency of the EU at the time, “to send a negotiating team immediately to Brussels, even if uninvited, to make the Canadian case on the ground and mitigate the pressure for European Union retaliatory action on Monday morning.” On Friday afternoon, March 10, a high-level delegation, consisting of Smith, Bartleman, and William Rowat, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, quietly departed for Brussels ready to begin discussions with European Commission officials.

Although a Canadian examination of the Estai found evidence of serious fishing violations, including use of an illegal fishing net, Canada decided to release the vessel allowing negotiations to get underway. But defiant Spanish trawlers resumed fishing, accompanied by a naval patrol vessel with orders to use “deadly force” to protect them. Brian Tobin revealed that Canadian fisheries patrol ships had been fitted with warp cutters designed to sever the steel cables that attach trawlers’ fishing nets.]

Attachment to Place , acrylic with gloss luster, buttons on canvas, 24.5" x 49.5", NFS

World Hauled He's Grounded on God's Great Bank Keelheaved to Heaven into Boatfilled Arms (Celtic Poem), acrylic with gloss luster on canvas, 48" x 48", 2002 $4000

Goin' History, acrylic with gloss luster on canvas, 24" x 49", 2003 $1500

IFrank Byron Ferguson to Aunt Chat Birthday Poem, acrylic with gloss luster, 22" x 35", 1995 NFS

by the holy old dynamitin' jesus the cod are gone, acrylic with gloss luster, 20.5" x 34", 1996 $700

Willkommen in Kkanadas Atlantikprovinzen, acrylic gloss luster on canvas, 44" x 60", 1999 $4000

Wave Upon Wave of Cod, acrylic with gloss luster, mixed media, 19.7" x 31.5" SOLD

Washed by waves, acrylic gloss luster mixed media, 36" x 24", 1999. $650

No Swallows on Grand Manan, acrylic gloss luster, 22" x 35.5", 1997 $650.

Gales of 1866 and Bible Studies, acrylic with gloss luster with mixed media with vintage bible study cards on canvas, 36" x 144", 2003, $4000 (like a runner 12' long)

Unavailing Bitterness (Charles Bruce), acrylic gloss luster, 30" x 55.7", 1995 $1500.

We shall not foget Dad, acrylic gloss luster, 30" x  55, 2011 $2000.

Nova Scotia was a peninsula surrounded by fish, acrylic with gloss lustrer on canvas, 36" x 40", 1997 NFS

When Loud the Storm (Charles Bruce), acrylic with gloss luster on canvas, 2011, $1500

Exhibition: Goin' History

Floorcloth Paintings

Craig Gallery, Alderney Landing,

HRM, NS     2003

*These paintings were shown in various numbers in Newfoundland at the Annex Gallery/Devon Art Gallery, Craig Gallery Alderney Landing HRM, Coastline Gallery Shelburne, N.S., Argyle Fine Art HRM, the Black Duck Gallery in Lunenburg and Westboro Studio Tour, Ottawa and ILand Gallery in Toronto.


The floorcloth paintings were inspired by the hooked rugs commonly made in Nova Scotia over the ages to prevent drafts from coming through floors and a way to recycle old clothing and wool bits.

The title Goin' History was aptly uttered by Harry Rennehan, a lobster fisherman in SW Nova Scotia, who remarked one day before the recent lobster glut, the lobster fishery is goin' history, just like the cod. Love that man. I thought the phrase totally covered the whole environmental mess we humans have manged to get ourselves in.

I found I had so many feelings about the moratorium of the cod and the desertification of the oceans, that this was the perfect format for me to combine text and images to say what I wanted to say about human and government incompetence and failure to preserve the environment for future generations.