Ken MacIntosh is pictured painting on the beach. The artist will have an exhibit at the Fraser Cultural Centre in Tatamagouche from the end of August until mid-September. Edward Sampson photo

TATAMAGOUCHE – Ken MacIntosh’s paintings adorn the Tatamagouche area like glittering pebbles on the seashore, enriching the landscape and making our days a whole lot sweeter. 

It is difficult to miss MacIntosh’s work. His murals grace the public space from the North Shore Recreation Centre, to Willow Lodge, Road Train Station, Tipperary Café, Derados, Heritage Centre, and down the street to Big Al’s. His framed landscapes and portraits are widely collected.

Opening on Aug. 30 and running until Sept. 18, the Fraser Cultural Centre is hosting a retrospective of MacIntosh’s work to honour his artistic contribution to his community.  Pamela Swainson and Edward Sampson are the touch points for the show but, as Swainson claims, “it is with the help of many hands.”

Swainson had the idea for a MacIntosh show for a few years now. 

“He is a phenomenal artist who is driven to paint.” 

She went on to explain how prudent it is to celebrate MacIntosh and his art. 

“Ken is a beloved Tatamagouche icon and people will be talking about his work long, long after he is gone. It is so important for him to know how valued he is.”

MacIntosh’s paintings will fill three galleries at The Fraser to bursting for the retrospective. They are coming from Halifax and many points in-between. It is a juried show, so only the very finest of his work will be on display.

“There will also be new work for sale so that people can start or expand their collections,” said Swainson.

Tri County Ford is the major corporate sponsor for the show. Eric MacKeen, general manager of Tri County said, “We are helping to sponsor the show because it is the right thing to do. We are happy to be part of Kenny’s exhibition and are proud to be able to support the arts in the area.”

MacIntosh, who is 63 this year, began his artistic exploration when he was seven. He started copying Norman Rockwell illustrations that he found in his grandfather’s copies of the Saturday Evening Post. When he was 10 years old, he got his first watercolour set and used it to paint hockey and baseball players. 

Things progressed rapidly thereafter, finding the 17-year-old MacIntosh painting land and seascapes in oil paints inspired by the works of the Dutch-Canadian 19th century painter Cornelius Krieghoff.

When he was 19, MacIntosh entered St. Francis Xavier University to study fine arts. He stayed there for two years studying under Tom Roach and taking his inspiration from the French impressionists and Canadian landscape painter Tom Thomson.

In his 20’s and early 30’s, MacIntosh took art classes from Julius Zarand, the Hungarian-Canadian artist who studied under Oskar Kokoschka. MacIntosh also took lessons from the Nova Scotia seascape artist William deGarthe.

As well as painting, MacIntosh worked at the Pugwash salt mine, taught art to kids, and, for a time, was an artist-in-residence at The Fraser. 

“My art is all over the place,” said MacIntosh. “There was one year when I did 300 paintings. Peter Myles, the film music editor for Star Wars and Harry Potter, has some of my work and so does Anne Murray.

“Some of my illustrations are used in Cameroon in pamphlets used to teach people about public health.”

The Ken MacIntosh retrospective will open at The Fraser in Tatamagouche on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Refreshments and finger foods will be served.