Wayne Goodwill

About the Artist

Wayne Goodwill was born in 1941 at Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan and grew up on the nearby Standing Buffalo Reserve, where he continues to live (2008). He attended the Lebret Indian  Residential SchoolA system of schools opened in Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries for Aboriginal children. The primary goal of these schools was to assimilate the children into the non-native cultural system. For more information, go to: The Canadian Residential School System at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_residential_school_system A Lost Heritage: Canada’s Residential Schools: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_residential_school_system Residential Schools at the Canadian Encyclopedia: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0011547 The Indian Residential School Survivors Society: http://www.irsss.ca/   and the day school on the reserve. After leaving school he worked at various jobs, including construction and with the provincial Department of Natural Resources.

Goodwill is a self-taught artist. His only formal training was an art class that was part of a one-year vocational training program at the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan. He was also something of a late bloomer. His interest in art was first stimulated when he was ill in hospital (at about age 21) and a friend brought him paper, pen, and  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  to occupy him during the long days. Goodwill discovered that he had a real aptitude for art, although little was done at that time to develop his talent.

Besides his artistic talent, Goodwill possesses many other skills and abilities. He has been a champion traditional dancer, an organizer for annual Sioux celebrations at Fort Qu’Appelle, an avid hunter and a long-time councilor with the Band administration at Standing Buffalo. He was also a fine amateur hockey player in his prime.

Goodwill has expressed his artistic interests in two related but very different ways. On canvas, he is an excellent painter of realistic scenes depicting the old days of Sioux life, and the stories his maternal great-grandfather used to tell him when he was a child. Remembering the stories from the old man, Goodwill sought to capture them on  canvasCommonly used as a support for oil or acrylic painting, canvas is a heavy woven fabric made of flax or cotton. Its surface is typically prepared for painting by priming with a ground. Linen — made of flax — is the standard canvas, very strong, sold by the roll and by smaller pieces. A less expensive alternative to linen is heavy cotton duck, though it is less acceptable (some find it unacceptable), cotton being less durable, because it's more prone to absorb dampness, and it's less receptive to grounds and size. For use in painting, a piece of canvas is stretched tightly by stapling or tacking it to a stretcher frame. A painting done on canvas and then cemented to a wall or panel is called marouflage. Canvas board is an inexpensive, commercially prepared cotton canvas which has been primed and glued to cardboard, suitable for students and amateurs who enjoy its portability. Also, a stretched canvas ready for painting, or a painting made on such fabric. Canvas is abbreviated c., and "oil on canvas" is abbreviated o/c.  (Artlex.com)  to preserve them. This same kind of wellspring has inspired other Saskatchewan painters like Allan Sapp and Michael Lonechild, whose images speak of Aboriginal life in the “Old West”.

Aboriginal Dancing

Goodwill’s second interest resulted from his talents as a traditional dancer. In 1969 he was part of a group of Sioux dancers who performed in Holland, Belgium and France. During a stop in Paris he saw some old hide paintings, made by Plains peoples before 1800, on display at the Museum of Man. When he returned home he resolved to learn more about this art form.


Goodwill learned that after 1700 the Sioux were pushed westward from the forests of Minnesota onto the Great Plains by their enemies, the Ojibwa. On the plains the Sioux split into three groupings. They developed a culture based on the horse and the bison and in addition to providing food, tools and shelter, the bison provided the Sioux culture with its major artistic expression:  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)   naturalisticA style in which an artist intends to represent a subject as it appears in the natural world — precisely and objectivly — as opposed to being represented in a stylized or intellectually manipulated manner. Although naturalism is often used interchangeably with the term realism, there is a difference between them. The realism of Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877) is more interested in the honest depiction of unpretentious subjects, while the naturalism of Ernest Meissonier (French, 1815-1891) is more a visually accurate depiction of subjects which in other hands might well have been depicted pretentiously. (artlex.com)  or  symbolicAn image that stands for something else to convey meaning and information in an art work.  designs on bison hides. Through his work with bison hides Goodwill is not only preserving a traditional art form, he is also revisiting centuries-old cultural memories that survived through periods of upheaval and turmoil faced by his ancestors as the tide of white settlement moved westward.

Hide Painting

An Artist from the Start
Hides and Ink
My Grandfather's Stories
Trip to France
Young Hunter
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning