Regional Identity

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Untitled (abandoned buildings)
Luke Lindoe, Lindoe, watercolour, farm, abandoned buildings, abandoned farm, regional, prairie, landscape, buildings in landscape, sun, dark clouds, light contrast, value contrast, weather, southern prairies, romanticism, expressive line, painting, 2D art, two-dimensional, rural decline
start quoteIt seems to me that my art says all that needs to be said about my art.end quote -- Luke Lindoe (Virginia Christopher Fine Art 1992)

In a newspaper interview given when he was 70 years of age Lindoe said, “Sculpture is really the thing I do well (and) my paintings pay for this whole shmoz.” (Regina Leader-Post, 1983) That may be an overstatement on his part, or a show of artistic bravado, but Lindoe’s approach to life and art was emphatically simple and direct. At a time when commentary about works of art and artistic theory was becoming more and more complex and convoluted Lindoe said:

It seems to me that my art says all that needs to be said about my art. I think of its as being simple, direct response to my life, everything is familiar and recognizable. There are no obscure, philosophical or psychological implications; I observe and I interpret. That’s all there is to it. (Virginia Christopher Fine Art, 1992)

The work presented here from the Mendel Art Gallery collection, showcases Lindoe’s talents with watercolours and a distinctive landscape. Southern Alberta, like much of southern Saskatchewan, is short grass prairie with great open skies above. And, the landscape of both provinces is dotted with abandoned buildings left behind by unsuccessful homesteaders. In Untitled (abandoned buildings) Lindoe has captured the essence of an isolated  homesteadThe home place; a home and the inclosure or ground immediately connected with it. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary) In western Canada, the land given to settlers who agreed to cultivate the land in return for title to the land.  slowly being beaten down by the elements, under a relentless sun and a restless, threatening sky.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • Is Lindoe’s watercolour of abandoned buildings familiar and recognizable to you, as he put it in his statement above? Are there elements of the work that you don’t recognize? If so, do you think this diminishes the value of the work?
Advanced Activity

Science related

Experiences, your imagination and information from books and websites all make good sources for getting ideas to make art.

On the prairies, weather is probably one of the most talked about experiences and one of the most popular topics of conversation. Weather affects us all - farmers, gardeners, outdoor workers, and people who drive. It also affects things like holiday plans, outdoor sports and festivities.

Here is an example of a true historical weather story that might remind you of Luke Lindoe’s painting:

1936-1938 were the worst and driest years of the “dirty thirties”. In 1936 alone, 12,831 farms in Saskatchewan were abandoned. Dust storms lasted for days and the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada occurred in Midale and Yellowgrass, where the temperature rose to 45 Centigrade. For more information related to this weather story, go to:

Advanced Activity Online Activity
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Create different moods in each of the landscapes you can find using the Background icon by selecting and dragging weather features (you can find using the Shapes icon) over the pictures and changing the sky.

Match your created landscapes to the following mood words:

  • tranquil
  • blustery
  • unpredictable
  • threatening
  • snowstorm
  • pleasant.

Or create some weather designs in the empty box with the  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (  tool. Can you show these words with a simple  lineA mark with length and direction(-s). An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form). (  drawing?

  • raining cats and dogs
  • thunder storm
  • tornado
  • bright and sunny
  • foggy day.



Studio Activity


Luke Lindoe is regarded as a “pioneer” artist in Alberta. He discovered deposits of  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (  that could be used by ceramicists in Alberta and started a clay program at the Alberta College of Art and Design. His work includes painting,  ceramicsPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (  and  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (  and he describes his works as a direct response to his life experiences. The most important experience for Lindoe is being connected to the land. He talks about the importance of ”walking the land” and “touching the world” (Virginia Christopher Gallery, 1992). For him, his relationship with nature is essential for his expression as an artist. To read more about Luke Lindoe, go to:

Finding and  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. (  weather

Many artists make  landscapeA painting, photograph or other work of art which depicts scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers and forests. There is invariably some sky in the scene. ( Landscape is also a term that may also refer simply to a horizontally-oriented rectangle, just as a vertically-oriented one may be said to be oriented the portrait way. (  paintings. In Canada, it is the  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  probably  most beloved by the general public.

But if you have ever looked closely at landscape paintings by prairie artists, you can tell who is really connected to the outdoors. How can you tell? Has the artist considered…the weather? There are hundreds of paintings with lovely blue skies or dramatic sunsets and a few wispy clouds floating by. In these canvasses, trees and grass and even the clouds seem to stay beautifully in place. Nothing appears to be moving. Although perhaps in some parts of the world this more static weather state does exist, in Canada we experience a wide range of weather patterns, weather conditions and weather effects on an ongoing, daily basis.

If you want to become a landscape painter and make paintings connected to your experiences like Lindoe did, then consider the weather with care.
Look at Abandoned Buildings carefully. Lindoe sets the mood for showing the desolation of these old farm buildings by making us think of a dusty wind with a threat of thunder. He does this by

  • Limiting the colours to just two or three, thus emphasizing the dusty field.

Vincent Van Gogh, a famous Dutch painter was also aware of weather as we may clearly see in his paintings.
Make your own weather-inspired  watercolourAny paint that uses water as a solvent. Paintings done with this medium are known as watercolours. What carries the pigment in watercolour (called its medium, vehicle, or base) is gum arabic. An exception to this rule is water miscible oil paints, which employ water as their solvent, but are actually oil paints. Colours are usually applied and spread with brushes, but other tools can also used. The most common techniques for applying watercolour are called wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet, along with the dry brush techniques dry-on-dry and dry-on-wet. Colours can be removed while still wet, to various degrees by blotting. Most watercolour painting is done on paper, but other absorbent grounds can also be employed. The papers most favored by those who paint with watercolour is white, very thick, with high rag content, and has some tooth. (  paintings

  • Use watercolour.  See the following website for further information:
  • Observe and make changes
  • Think about how you may convey movement in your painting. Observe what the wind does to trees, or to grass and other plants. (or observe what happens when temperatures drop or rise significantly, or a wind changes direction)
  • To display them, organize these small paintings in a way that will include room for written text or poetry about weather.  You may wish to mount/matte them individually on small pieces of coloured Bristol board.

Author unknown.  ‘Brittle  sculptorA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (  moves on.’  Regina Leader-Post, September 14, 1983.

Author unknown.  Come Walk With Me: A Luke Lindoe Retrospective.  Exhibition catalogue.  Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta, 1992.

Author unknown.  A Photographic Fantasy: Luke Lindoe.  Exhibition catalogue.  Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery, Medicine Hat, Alberta, 1996.

Author unknown.  Luke Orton Lindoe.  Virginia Christopher Fine Art, Calgary, Alberta.  Retrieved from the Internet on May 7, 2008 from:

Davis, Ann. Forward.  Virginia Christopher Fine Art, Calgary, Alberta.

Graff, Les.  ‘Turning Earth Into Art.’  Alberta Views, Summer 1999. Retrieved from the Internet on May 7, 2008 from: lindo.htm

Interview with John Chalke about Luke Lindoe, from Dreamers and Doers: lindo.htm

McFall, Tom.  ‘Fête of Clay.’  Alberta Inventors and Inventions.  Retrieved from the Internet on May 7, 2008 from:

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning