Superbes peintures du Grand Nord signées par la talentueuse Sheena McGoogan! Interview exclusive…

Quelle magnifique découverte artistique que je souhaite ici partager avec vous. La canadienne Sheena McGoogan est une talentueuse peintre qui emmène notre regard vers les fascinantes contrées du Grand Nord. Les couleurs acryliques choisies sont vives, lumineuses et mettent en exergue les maisonettes et les villages typiques du Groenland…

Elle nous emporte aussi vers d’autres horizons Nature tels que le mythique Passage arctique du Nord-Ouest, l’Ecosse, l’Irlande… Bien plus, son époux Ken McGoogan a écrit en 2001 un livre sur l’histoire du tant « oublié » explorateur polaire écossais John Rae… 

J’ai été à sa rencontre pour une interview exclusive que je vous invite à lire ci-après….Très belle lecture à tous et à toutes.

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–  You seem to be inspired by Greenlandic & Inuit colourful villages and houses…what are your best memories and painting souvenirs up there North in the Arctic…why? 

Greenland and the Canadian Arctic are populated by the most wonderful and welcoming people, the Inuit. Their friendliness is what I remember best. I love their colourful homes in the landscape too. 

The entire Arctic is fun to paint and photograph because of the light. Everything is bathed in this light.  And there are so many other beautiful aspects of this part of the world that I love, like the icebergs, the animals, the history, and the land itself.

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 –  You have painted as well some breathtaking sceneries, towns & houses of Orkney, Scotland and of the Canadian Far North that you have visited with your husband Ken ?  

Yes, I do paint where we travel for my husband’s book researchOrkney is another of our favourite places, again because of the friendliness of the people. Orcadians are welcoming, aware of who they are, and full of stories to tell. Orkney is a beautiful land filled with ancient history. 

My husband wrote about John Rae in his book Fatal Passage, and that has enabled us to visit Orkney several times. Last year Ken was writer in residence in Stromness, and so we got to stay a while, which was lovely.  

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– Tell us more about Orkney…your passion for « Folk Tales » and the link between Dr John Rae, Orkney and the Arctic Northwest Passage?

Dr. John Rae was born and raised in Orkney.  His childhood home is still there and I have painted it many, many times.  It is quite dramatic. Rae learned his sailing and survival skills in Orkney, and he remains highly respected there today. 

Everyone knows about him, and we were present last year during the unveiling of a lovely new statue in the town square.  He discovered both the final link in the first navigable Northwest  Passage and the fate of the Franklin Expedition.  

– Did the explorer Dr John Rae and your love for Orkney make you and your husband decide to aim one day for the Arctic Northwest Passage? Which places did you visit there?

Yes.  The Northwest Passage was always one of our objectives. We have sailed through this passage seven or eight times thanks to a wonderful Ontario-based company called Adventure Canada.  We have visited many towns along the passage and hiked to many magical sites.  

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– If I am well documented, your husband Ken McGoogan did in 2001 write a book titled « Fatal Passage: The Story of John Rae – The Arctic hero time forgot » ? Tell us a bit more, dear Sheena?

To learn about the link between John Rae and the Northwest Passage one should begin by reading Fatal Passage, written by my husband, Ken McGoogan. That book makes it all clear. The town of Stromness, Orkney, was where all ships bound for the Canadian Arctic could last call in for water.  You can still see the well today.  Also many, many Orkney men sailed aboard those ships and worked in the fur trade for the Hudson’s Bay Company.  They were hardy men and capable of handling the harsh winters of the Canadian north. 

Ken wrote not only Fatal Passage but three other books about the Arctic ( For those books, we travelled in Orkney, England, Scotland, and the Arctic.

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– In fact, your paintings are there to tell stories and to communicate the beauty of some places that you have visited? 

I see myself as a storyteller in paint.  I enjoy painting historical places, landscapes, and homes in those landscapes. Many of the places that we visit are outstandingly beautiful, and this drives me to share the beauty with others. 

I only paint places that I am passionate about, and I have been lucky to visit many of these places in my lifetime. 

 – Is there a way for you to link your paintings to any kind of nature and wildlife respect, education & awareness?

I do like to paint the beauty I see in our world. And since I have been a teacher as well, I like to teach others about these places.  I hope that others will recognize the beauty and want to preserve it.  Saving our environment is very important to me and that is another reason why I paint landscapes.

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– Who’s your favourite painter…the one you admire the most for his unique & exceptional talent…which gives you new painting ideas or/& makes you improve in your own Art?

M-m-m…that is a very hard question.  I have so many favourite painters.  I do love the Canadian landscape painters, and I was also influenced by my maternal grandfather, who was a professional painter. 

But Vincent Van Gogh is probably my favourite painter of all time.  He was so exceptional and yet remained so unknown during his lifetime.  But he never gave up, and he continued to paint and record his love of the land and the people who worked it. I love his passion.

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– Did your courses at the Musee de Beaux Arts and Mc Gill in Montreal + your Art degree at the University of British Columbia bring you to use acrylic paints and to prefer bold colours to create constrast and excitment? 

My sense of colour comes from growing up in Quebec, where colour is more a part of life than most places in Canada.  My love of painting the landscape comes from my grandfather, Albert Pattison, and also from my wonderful teacher Gordon Smith, who is a well known and respected Canadian painter.

I did move from using oils to acrylic while at the University of British Columbia because I loved the vivid colours and quickness to dry. 

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– Do you plan in the coming months to go back to the Arctic to achieve new paintings? Which spot in particular and when? 

We will be sailing the Northwest Passage again in 2015 with Adventure Canada.  I can hardly wait to get back there!

– Would you be ready to paint polar bears, wallruses, belugas….? Any plans in this direction, Sheena?

I might paint polar bears and other animals one day. I do love the animals in their natural habitat and I am an animal enthusiast.  

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– Aside of your website, where can one view and see your beautiful paintings ?

Anyone can write to me about my paintings and I can forward J pegs if they wish to see some.  I show in a local gallery here in Toronto called Arts on Queen.  Last year I had a shared show in Orkney with the wonderful Orkney artist, Jane Glue.  That was a lot of fun!   I do paint commissions and I will ship paintings.

– Any shows or/& exhibitions planned for 2015/16 in Europe, Canada or the US in order for fans to come and meet you and admire your great talent?

If you look on my web site, you will see where I am showing next. I always post if I have a show coming up.  I usually have a show in March/April at Arts on Queen. I also make cards based on my paintings, and these can be purchased at Judith Glue shop in Orkney (

– Any specific message you wish to address to Arctic05′ fans?

I think everyone should try at least once in their lifetime to visit the Canadian Arctic and Greenland.  The experience will change your life! 

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