Estevan’s Art Concepts was host to renowned Canadian painter Michael Lonechild on Sept. 21.
Lonechild is a Cree, Native-Canadian painter who is best known for his brightly coloured depictions of historical and present-day Cree culture.
Born in Oct. 1955 on the White Bear Reservation in Saskatchewan, Lonechild is a self-taught arist, who learned only from books and observing other artists at work. He was recognized early in his career in Dr. John Anson Warner’s book The Life and Art of the North American Indian, which was published in 1991.
“Last night we had a group of people come out, and we all looked at the art and kind of just had a conversation about the pieces,” said Lonechild.
“People were curious if I was still painting and I told them that I am. I don’t think I’ll ever stop painting, I’m compassionate with the art I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave it.”
In addition to his presentation held at Art Concepts, Lonechild hosted an event on Sept. 22 in which guests were invited to watch as he worked on a custom art piece.
“People are going to come out and watch me do one of the paintings that I already have in progress,” said Lonechild.
“That will run from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and people can kind of just watch my process.”
Lonechild said that his painting career began at a young age. He was inspired to begin playing around with paints when he was only 15 years old.
“I started to understand pretty quickly how to mix and play with the colours,” said Lonechild.
“At 18 or 19 I was already selling art, and it’s kind of just continued on from there. It’s always been a way of expression for me and I just love painting, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully walk away from it.”
Lonechild joked that the reason he continues to paint is that otherwise he wouldn’t have the money to buy food and would become hungry.
“I don’t really know why I love painting. When I was 15 I just had a burning desire to be a painter or an artist, and all these years later I still have that burning desire,” said Lonechild.
“Painting is pretty much my full time job. I’ve been working for a group called the Treaty Four Education Alliance, who make programs for first nations individuals on the reserves and they brought me in as an artist to come in and teach the children how to paint.”
Lonechild described painting as a type of therapy for him, saying that it allows him to escape from the every day world.
“I would say it really is better than any other therapy,” said Lonechild.
“I sit down and I really become lost in the painting for a few hours at a time and it just lets me escape and allows me to really have a way to express who I am, it’s always been that way for me.”
Lonechild’s works are featured in a collection at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum and also at the Canadian Embassy located in Washington D.C., among many other places.
“My technique is what people like to call the ‘overlapping style’,” said Lonechild. “I continue to paint over and over the same area in order to build up the mood.”
This overlapping style has become synonymous with Lonechild’s work and reflects the blending of man with nature; something Lonechild states is at the heart of his work.
Lonechild has three brothers, Ken, John and Ivan, who are also renowned painters.