Permanent Collection

Bylot #114

Pat Fairhead
Acrylic on canvas


Born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, Pat came to Canada at the age of ten and fell in love with the Canadian landscape. She filled her life with a wide variety of outdoor activities such as photography, sketching and drawing—all providing inspiration to take back to the studio. Travel has greatly influenced Pat’s paintings. She has explored the high Arctic nine times, paddled the west coast of British Columbia, camped in the Amazon rainforest, hiked the backcountry of Australia and travelled extensively throughout New Zealand, Europe and Africa. Pat studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design and holds a Master of Arts from Goddard College, Vermont, U.S.A. and a Master of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Pat has painted all her life and has had 70 shows in Canada, the U.S.A., and Great Britain. Her work is in national and provincial collections and corporate collections. One of her watercolour paintings is in the Royal Collection of Prints and Drawings at Windsor Castle, England. In 1966, Pat was elected to the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and is now a lifetime member. She was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists in 1986, has been a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art since 1993. In 2011, she was awarded the A. J. Casson Medal for excellence in watercolour.

About the artwork

“I was in Pond Inlet, at the north end of Baffin Island, on one of my many trips to the Canadian Arctic. I’m looking across the 12 miles of ocean to Bylot Island where there are 33 glaciers, mountains and no habitation—stunning. The sunlight was dazzling on the ice and a calm sea. I made a few small sketches in watercolour and did a lot of camera work. Back home in the studio, I sat and studied the images of the sketches. How to get the sensation of distance? So first off, it had to be a vertical piece to increase the perception of distance, with the glaciers at the top. Then several washes to capture the feeling of the sun on the surface and the depth of the ocean. Finally, some small marks at the bottom to bring the close shore forward.”