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Cunanan Page 26.1

Great Canadian Art & Artists

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Who has ever painted a finer and more glorious portrait of an Ontario farm? A daringly huge and riveting watercolour of a special moment on a rural farmstead. What painter has matched the "magic hour" of a passing storm with such consummate artistry and emotion as Art has done here; one can literally "hear" the picture: the softly sighing wind, rustling in waves of across the meadow grass, a distant tin from the barn roof rattling incessantly, a loose board banging somewhere, and the loudly shrieking, coils of gulls roiling up in alarm at the menacing sky.

A brief burst of light has lit the scene wondrously, skipping across the tops of the grass and illuminating the decaying old farmhouse, the silo, and barn who have seen and heard it all before, countless times. But like so often across southern Ontario, the clouds pass swiftly by; Art has already caught the edge of a clearing sky. The magic hour will momentarily be gone...

But not for us, thanks to the artistic wizardry, and sensitive ears, eyes, and emotional centre, of Art Cunanan.


Spring on the Farm, Art Cunanan 1988
Orig. wc - Size - 19" x 28.5"
Found - Port Credit, ON

Art Cunanan is one of Canada's very finest modern painters, excelling in the art of the watercolour; he matches the best in the field. Art is an elected member of the CSPW, the Canadian Society of Painter in Watercolour, and remains the only Filipino honoured with membership in this exclusive club.

But Art is far more than a master water colourist; he is second to none as a superlative interpreter of the Ontario countryside, in all seasons of the year.

Which is all the more amazing, when one remembers that Art was born in the Philippines, and gained a degree as a professional architect there, graduating from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

He became a commercial artist for a leading newspaper in Manila, as well as for large advertising companies, before emigrating to Canada, with his wife in 1976.

But, like so many highly trained, schooled, accredited, and experience experts from overseas, Art found that he could not get work as a professional - in his case architecture - in his area of expertise in Canada. The professional organization - as is so lamentably often the case with foreign-trained doctors, accountants, and engineers - controlled membership to lock out newcomers in order to preserve jobs and contracts for the home-grown professionals.

To support his family, Art decided not to drive taxi -the traditional back-up employment for foreign trained university graduates - and started to paint, going to rural areas around Mississauga to capture the vanishing countryside for the cement surrounded denizens of the urban ghetto.

In 1984 Art started to display his art at the Harbour Gallery in Port Credit, and swiftly won wide acclaim for his wonderful depictions of the rural landscapes and nature scenes of southern Ontario.

As a result, today, in thousands of living rooms and dining rooms in the Toronto area, Art's watercolours provide a welcome and restful respite for countless stressed out urban dwellers

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A Winter Evening, Art Cunanan 1988
Orig. wc - Size - 16" x 23"
Found - Port Credit, ON
So many colours to ice and snow, in another large and mesmerizing watercolour. But above all, the feeling, the sounds, the atmosphere, for all those who grew up, close to the land...
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The last leaf has fallen; the green grasses have dried up, into brownish and brittle stems; a few hardy cattails have not broken off yet, but still point stubbornly towards the sky.

It won't be long now, till the first snowfall covers and flattens all underfoot.

Art shows that he is a master of overcast light, finding beauty where others see only doom and gloom.

Art's work can be found in many corporate and private collections all over the world. His artwork has also been used for advertising brochures, and greeting cards. Art is now also an extremely popular instructor for art groups and schools in North America and Europe.


Birches and Cattails, Art Cunanan 1988
Orig. wc - Size - 12" x 21"
Found - Port Credit, ON


Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A path dappled with dancing golden birch leaves.

A small shower has recently passed, leaving a dampened path and a few slow-draining pools of water.

The sun has come out again; in a few days the leaves will all be down.

Luckily Art has come upon this charming fall scene just in time.


The Yellow Birches, Art Cunanan 1988
Orig. wc - Size - 16" x 20"
Found - Port Credit, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The Rusty Roof, Art Cunanan 1988
Orig. wc - Size - 10" x 26"
Found - Port Credit, ON
The end of summer is swiftly approaching as a fall sky brushes by overhead. The grass is parched; an elm has lost all its leaves, and a farmer can't afford to repair a rusting - and probably leaking - roof. Farmers and starving artists have something in common in this moody reverie about an Ontario farm.
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Art Cunanan CSPW 1 - (1948-)

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