The Painter

Inspiration can come from anywhere. This time from a movie I saved on PVR …


The movie is called ‘The West Wind‘. It’s the life story of Canadian artist Tom Thomson, who died under curious circumstances on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. The movie however, tried to unveil the tale of his life, rather than the romantic mystery of his passing.

He was a man driven by his passion – to paint. For a time he had a very promising career as a graphic designer that took him to Seattle and back to Toronto, where he lived most of his days. But he ultimately gave it all up to pursue his own art and his love of capturing timeless moments in Algonquin Park. Even odd jobs he took on wouldn’t last as he never had enough time to paint. In the end, Thomson started spending more and more time in the north, really embracing his true calling.

He drew countless sketches, painted small works and larger masterpieces. That’s what he did, every day – paint. He sold a few during his lifetime and began making a small name for himself, but nothing like the legend he is today.

His death at the age of 39 is a huge part of his legacy for sure. How he died, which is explored in the movie, is still a mystery. His story is mythical, and us Canadians have nurtured his life into a great national tale. But in the end, he was just a man living his life. A life he pursued on his terms, deciding how to live it and how to create it for himself.

I’m glad I recorded that movie (in fact I haven’t erased it …), as it can serve as a great reminder.

Now I just have to watch everything else I’ve saved (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Departed, The Twilight Zone TV shows …).

Thanks for reading, see you next time.

PS — I don’t know if you’ve ever had the chance to see Tom Thomson paintings in person, but it is a surreal experience. The Jack Pine, The West Wind, Northern River (the painting I posted here) are insanely amazing. The guy was crazy talented. Here’s a link to the TT gallery in Owen Sound:

Motion Pictures

Movies. A great song. A stellar album or book …


Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? – Eminem

I love being inspired. Getting that inner-gut sensation and motivation to write a song, jot down ideas, cook a family meal, be a better husband, father, etc … that feeling to be creative. To make something that is yours and yours only. That feeling that anything in life is possible.

There are many things that inspire me including an amazing passage in a song, the sound of a choir, an uplifting moment in a movie, a walk, a long drive … it’s endless. So, with the Oscars this weekend, I’ve made a list of movies that have inspired me and extend an invitation to you to include your favourites as well;

“Rudy” – Whenever it was on TV (and it’s on a lot!) my Dad and I used to watch it and we cried like babies every time Rudy hit the field.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” – I saw it for the first time this past Christmas and I think I’ll make it a yearly tradition. Considering it’s sixty years old, it still packs a powerful message.

“Dead Poets Society” – That scene when they all stand on their desk chairs. Carpe Diem.

“The Shawshank Redemption” – Determination.

Music can be such an inspiration too. Whether picking up my guitar or listening to an amazing recording or hearing a heartfelt vocal, there are so many ways to be inspired by music. Too many favourite to list, so here’s a short list;

“God Only Knows”, The Beach Boys – Easily on this list. I love everything about this song including the heartbreaking lead vocal by Carl Wilson. I get goosebumps every time I hear it.

“Dark Side of the Moon”, Pink Floyd – In dreams albums don’t sound this good. A masterpiece that has inspired so much great music.

‘Lose Myself”, Eminem – Amazing story sung with conviction. He means it, and you can feel that. I crank it every time and feel the possibilities.


What gets to you? Is it something in nature? Your family? A movie? A book, a song or an album?

Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section. The conversation is yours.

Thanks for reading. See you next time.