Wynona Mulcaster

About the Artist

Art is a language. It is not a skill. It’s not a stunt. It’s not something you learn to do and put down. It comes from the heart. – Wynona Mulcaster

Wynona Croft Mulcaster was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 1915. A childhood incident demonstrates her interest in art, and her determination. When she was in Grade 2 her first attempts at art were thrown in the garbage, so she went out and used the schoolyard as her canvas. She was forced to confess her actions in front of the entire school. Many years later she would say that young children, “speak the language of art in a way that is as natural as growing – until someone tries to teach them, and fear takes over.” (Christensen, 2003)

Mulcaster’s father was a lawyer, and it was he who arranged for Ernest Lindner to hold summer art classes in Prince Albert. Mulcaster’s mother rode horses until she was 83, and the daughter inherited her mother’s love of riding. At a 50-year  retrospectiveAn exhibition of work by a senior artist representing all the stages of the artist’s career.  of her work she told a reporter “If not for the influence of Ernie Lindner, I’d have probably left my father’s law office and become a bareback rider in a circus.” (Robertson, undated.) After she began spending the winter in Mexico she remarked that, “I ride every morning, and I am  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)  the whole time.” (Christensen, 2003)

Ernie (Ernest) Lindner is another artist presented on the ARTSask website. Mulcaster and Lindner first met in 1932 when she enrolled in a summer art class he taught at the Prince Albert Library. In the summer of 1935 she attended the Emma Lake Artists' Workshop, the first of many she would attend as participant, workshop leader and later, as artist-in-residence.

Mulcaster spent 1937 and 1938 teaching art to school children in Grades 1 to 11, at rural schools. She then attended the University of Saskatchewan, graduating in 1942 with a degree in Art and English. She taught art at the college of education and the University of Saskatchewan, and attended Lindner’s weekly Saturday night social gatherings, talking art into Sunday morning.

In 1974 she took a  sabbaticalOf or pertaining to the Sabbath; resembling the Sabbath; enjoying or bringing an intermission of labor. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary) In the academic world, usually a stretch of time during which faculty members are away from teaching, but doing research, travelling, writing a book, or engaging in some other work-related activity.  year from the university and spent it in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. The small colonial city has two world-class art schools, and attracts artists from all over Mexico around the world. Mulcaster built a home and studio there, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Instituto Allende in 1976. Living in Mexico was her first opportunity to work in a concentrated manner with no distractions, she noted later.

For many years Mulcaster spent her winters in San Miguel de Allende, returning to Saskatchewan in the summer to renew friendships, attend workshops at Emma Lake, and to take her van into the country to paint her beloved prairie landscapes.
The list of artists who taught Mulcaster and helped to shape her own approach to teaching others reads like a who’s-who of Canadian art: Ernest Lindner, A.Y. Jackson, Augustus Kenderdine, Henry Glyde and Arthur Lismer. At the Emma Lake Workshops Will Barnet and Ken Noland in particular gave Mulcaster support in finding her own approach to painting. In turn, her students included Otto Rogers, Allen Sapp and Ivan Eyre, all of whom have works represented on the ARTSask website.

On Wynona Mulcaster
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning