Game Of Checkers
with Artist James Lumbers
James Lumbers, from 1929 to present day, near Toronto, Ontario.
A Game of Checkers Art, by James Lumbers.
“Many years ago there were two men who lived on
neighboring farms near the area where I spent my childhood. Their names were John
Parker and Lou Stanton. They each had a single passion and that was to beat each
other at a game of checkers. Every Saturday afternoon in this old drive shed, John
and Lou faced each other in their weekly battle of wits. The old tractor (a Rock
Island G-2) belonged to John until he died in the 1930's. He left it to his
lifelong friend Lou, but he only survived two more years. Now and then people say
they can hear the click of checkers in the old shed, but others say it's just the
chickens. What do you think?”
James Lumbers, a modern Canadian artist
who graduated from the Ontario College of Art.
“In retrospect, it’s hard to believe it
just happened! I was sketching an abandoned cottage in Georgian Bay back in 1976.
On the later trip that fall, while poking about the ruins, I found the remains of
an old diary and a few musty negatives that were tucked inside. When developed
months later, the photos revealed a family relaxing in 1913 on the cottage porch,
sitting precisely where I had sat sketching. The angle of the photograph matched
my completed painting exactly. So, more on a whim than anything else, I decided
to include these ‘ghosts’ in my painting and aptly called it Memories
of a Summer Day.”
- He had a dream of becoming an artist from an early age but this ambition was
not well received by his parents so after graduating from art college, he worked
for many years as an industrial and corporate designer before finally
establishing himself in an artistic career.
- James Lumbers has become one of Canada's
most respected and successful artists and
his wilderness landscapes, nostalgic images
of Canada's past and inspiring celebrity
portraits are part of private art, prints
and posters collections around the world.
- As a visual artist, James Lumbers has
made a significant contribution in the
preservation of Canada’s wonderful
heritage and when he is not creating his
unique motifs, making public appearances
or traveling across Canada researching
history for his artistic expression, James
relaxes and finds inspiration in his Northern
- While in northern Canada, in the Hudson Bay lowlands and throughout many
areas of the sub arctic, James Lumbers spent a great deal of time with Native
people and documented their lifestyles and through his sincerity and compassion,
earned the respect of the Aboriginal peoples of the North.
- Imbued within all his paintings of this period is a strong, pervading sense
of realism that resulted from his experiences within the northern Canadian
landscape and these images became his visual liberator.
- Thus, from about 1970 he began painting various themes and subject matter
in the style of Realism and his favorite medium to release his artistic
expression within is acrylic paint.
- A recurring theme in all his work is portraying the Canadian heritage and
the traditions that have made Canadians who they are and Canadian society what
it is today.
- When Lumbers was afforded an opportunity to join a scientific expedition in
1970 traveling to the Sub Arctic, he readily accepted the challenge in order
to document wildlife of the area; the journey changed his life perspective
forever and resulted in a love affair with the north that would continue for
many years; his lasting respect for the cultures and raw beauty of the arctic
climate and the Hudson Bay lowlands has become a reoccurring theme in his
paintings, prints and posters.
- James Lumbers was elected a Fellow of
the Explorers Club of New York in 1973
as a result of his visual documentation
of the peoples and wildlife of the far
north and then he was elected a member
of the Society of Animal Artists of New
York later that same year; by the late
70’s artist James Lumbers
was recognized as one of Canada’s
best known realist painters.
- James Lumbers is best known for his heritage ‘Moments
in Time’ series; this unusual
thematic style of painting all started on
a summer afternoon some years ago, while
in Georgian Bay sketching an abandoned house
on an island in the area, he found a diary
with some negatives taken in 1913 tucked
neatly inside; a few months later, he printed
them and found that someone had photographed
the family sitting on the same porch in much
the same manner as in his sketch; this discovery
led to his series of heritage paintings called ‘Moments
wherein his theme relies on ghost images
where the artist has carefully blended reflections
of the past into motifs of the present to
create thought provoking tributes of simpler
times long gone.
the products of our memories and traditions.
We must fight to preserve our heritage and
changes most things, but it is important that
we all realize that what binds one generation
to the next is memory — and that’s
what I paint.”
- The ‘Game
of Checkers’ above
represents one of James Lumbers genre scenes
from this series where he’s
depicted the ghosts of two old friends whose
single passion was to meet on a Saturday
afternoon in the drive shed and play
one challenging game of checkers after
another trying to beat each other over
- The realism within the motif in the artistic expression of the shed, old
tractor, chickens and the two old men brings forth a deep sense of nostalgia
surrounding a long standing checkers game in the corner of the shed between the
opponents facing each other at the checkerboard.
- Checkers artist James Lumbers strong
sense of history is embodied within his
nostalgic scenes that are depicted with
a natural sense of realism.