Becky Mason Canoeist

Becky Mason Artist
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Reid McLachlan

Bill Mason

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Artist Rebecca Mason also known as Becky does original watercolor painting art. Her watercolor paintings inspired by nature are for sale in her art gallery. You are welcome to buy Mason's watercolor paintings online.
Rebecca Mason - Reviews

What is your personal reaction to the play?
"Experiencing this play makes me think about our current war and what our soldiers will feel after. This thought hit me hard. I was touched with the raw human feeling ghosting from the three veterans of WWI in this play."

Why do you think you are suited to create art for this play?
"I too like to look to the future, the characters used a motif of a dog to transport their imagination, I use canoe vessels and trails to help me see the beauty over the horizon."

Some pieces that you think work particularly well in relation to this play?
"The painting "Gather of Trees" typifies the message of the play. The autumn poplars echo the autumn or end of life and new beginnings. These are brave soldiers who survived, who are surviving old age the best they
know how by looking forward, following the path in their minds eye to the beauty and mystery of a stand of trees."

Is there anything about your medium/ working methods you would like to highlight?
"The medium of watercolour leaves no room for error and the paper of choice is delicate yet strong. Each brush stroke is firm, exact and permanent. The result is a direct, deep and profound emotional response to the world around me"

Fritzi Gallery,
GCTC Irving Greenbery Theatre Centre,
Lorraine 'Fritzi' Yale Gallery

June 8 - August 1, 2010


October 2 to November 6, 2009

Rebecca Mason's solo show Paintings

26 Sully Road, Wakefield, Quebec, Canada


Gallery McKenzie Marcotte comments on their exhibition of Mason's work.

In this latest series of paintings. Rebecca has returned to painting the forest and trees. Drawing upon their strength and vulnerability, she does not attempt to recreate them but rather to revisit memories of hallowed places where she has found peace, tranquility and understanding. This journey of recollection draws upon both the conscious and unconscious to gain insight and to express in colour, line and emotion the preciousness and the fragility of the natural world.

Galerie McKenzie Marcotte gallery's website at (off-site link)


 Indelible Souls
August 5 - 30, 2009

with Rebecca Mason and
Reid McLachlan duo show Paintings

at Cube Gallery
7 Hamilton Ave. N. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Rebecca Mason and Reid McLachlan have been working and living together for decades, both achieving recognition for their separate practices.   However, this is the first time these artists have appeared together in a major duo show.  Cube is proud to correct this surprising oversight with the exhibition “Indelible Souls”.

Indelible Souls showcases their startlingly diverse styles and subject matter and yet reveals how they are intrinsically bound by the passions they share. In both of their work I find the world of theatre is invoked.  Reid’s work reminds me of the action on stage, the characters and their props.  Each one of his pieces seems to imply an entire narrative, stories of passion, love and loss.  Becky seems to me more about the subtlety of the back stage.  Her work is like the setting of the mood, the play of light on the backdrop.  Her pieces are quiet and less apparent than the action on the stage, but look closer and they help to reveal the hidden magic that works almost subconsciously in the stories being told.

Completely different in approach and media, but joined in life, both painters create powerful images that, once seen, are impossible to erase ..... INDELIBLE.

Don Monet: Curator, Cube Gallery  (off-site link)

Staring at a lonely tree takes memory to art for Mason

"Nellie Portage" by Rebecca Mason displayed at Galerie McKenzie Marcotte from Oct. 2 - Nov. 6.

New Mason exhibit at Galerie McKenzie Marcotte By Trevor Greenway
From the The Low Down to Hull and Back News September 23, 2009

Becky Mason relies on her memory quite a bit. The Chelsea painter uses it almost every day in her studio to imprint emotions onto paper from locations she has visited.

"I generally formulate the painting in my mind," said Mason from her studio on Hwy 105 in Chelsea.

"I think a lot when I paint."

Instead of scoping out a location and painting a rock face on site like most landscape painters do, Mason just sits in nature, sometimes staring at one lonely tree for two hours before going back into the studio to put her thoughts onto paper.

"I'm just soaking it in." said Mason.

"It's imprinting in my memory."

Mason said that there are some challenges that arise when using this method, especially when she is a away from her studio for long periods  of time, making it tough for her to keep her memories fresh. "I can't wait too long before I lose them," she said. "I need to paint every three days or I lose the memory." Mason's new upcoming show at the McKenzie Marcotte Gallery in Wakefield is the culmination of the last two years of Mason's memories of trees. From trips she takes with her canoeing students, to hiking adventures in the area, Mason's new show entitled "Sublimation" features about 16 paintings of forests and trees that carry with them, the emotion she felt when she was standing in the locations. Mason won't go for a quick hike and then return to her studio immediately to paint, instead, she may take the same hike ten times to get the "overall feel" of the nature she stands on. "I call it imprinting," she said. "Taking a print for the emotion that I have for the land." Mason's paintings in "Sublimation" are watercolour based works of art that boast colour and imagery that are recognizable to our area. Her medium of Japanese rice paper leaves no room for error, as the paint absorbs directly into the fibres of the paper. She also uses the rice paper as a tool, by wrinkling it to "give the paintings more depth."

"Sublimation" begins on Oct. 2 and runs until Nov. 6. For more information, visit the gallery's website at (off-site link)

Thanks to the Low to Hull and Back News for permission to reprint their art review by Trevor Greenway (off-site link


PDF of Low Down to Hull in Back newspaper article

Parallel Lives by Phil Jenkins.
From The Low down To Hull and Back, July 29, 2009

“So that’s what we’re doing here,” Becky Mason says cheerfully, and she claps her hands. She steps out of her Chelsea home in the woods, walks under the four cedar strip canoes of various repair slung above the carport, and waves farewell after an hour of gentle interrogation by me about her art. Now, she is grateful to be outdoors; Mason prefers skies to ceilings.

Becky Mason’s hands are very adept at holding a brush or paddle; when the paddle is in her grip these days, more often than not she is teaching. It’s her summer job, passing on to many local canoeists and outlying paddlers in a wide radius the considerable skills her father Bill taught her. Bill Mason was a famous canoeist and a painter, and an undeniable influence on his daughter in that he helped her to look at nature with a clear, loving eye.

When the brush strokes replace the paddle strokes, Becky produces, on creased Japanese rice paper, delicate, light-filled watercolours that reflect what her inner eye has seen of natural beauty. A friend, so she tells me, bought the paper in a fire sale; eight hundred wet but salvageable sheets for $5. The day is coming soon when the paper will be all used up, a testimony to her years of productivity.

Absent from the house at the moment is her husband, Reid McLachlan. He’s still at work. The two artists met at the High School of Commerce many moons ago and have led proximitous lives ever since. Reid too works to the Canadian rhythm of many artists--earn enough in the summer to paint and create a stock of canvases through the winter; for twenty years, he has worked four months of the year as a canoe builder and repairer at Trailhead in Ottawa—the owner, Wally Schaber, is a patron of the arts and we could use many more like him. When he gets home Reid, who has inherited his mother’s art-gene, will not be long out of his studio, an outbuilding crammed with finished canvases and art–paraphernalia, and CDs scattered like leaves and palettes with stalagmites of paint rising up from them. It’s a room I would chose as the set for a film about an artist obsessed with getting to the next canvas, to the next discovery. Becky does not go in there much; she is allergic, in a wince-inducing twist of fate, to oil-based paints, a physical fact that almost killed her when it manifested itself.

Becky and Reid clearly have the tricky art of living together down (there is a wonderful book by Phyllis Rose called Parallel Lives that analyses the marriages of twin highly creative people) and it seems to be based on enormous respect for each other’s work, even as their styles on the canvas are studies in contrast. In her studio room within the house, Becky thinks gives deep thought to her next series--it might be mountains, ice storms or canoes or waves on a shore, currently it’s trees--and then executes them rapidly, almost as though she is on auto-memory. Reid in his joyous confinement is steadily outputting portraits of characters from a narrative that we must divine by looking good and hard into his flesh-tones and grey-blues and then as hard into ourselves. There is an answer there somewhere; the trick is putting your hands on it. There are no people in Becky’s works; there are always people in Reid’s.

Now, for the first time in all their very productive years together, they are having a joint show, an event in their joint lives that produces a smile whenever they mention it. Their home is actually a joint gallery, of course. I couldn’t help but envy them the ability to decorate your home with wonderful art with your name on it. Starting at the end of next week, the energetic, innovative Cube Gallery in Ottawa, down near the colourful Parkdale Market will host the portentously entitled Indelible Souls. Until September, the walls at Cube will mimic the walls of the Mason/McLachlan home and testify to inner workings of these two braided people. Sounds like a cause for celebration to me.

to the Low to Hull and Back News for permission to reprint Parallel Lives by Phil Jenkins. (off-site link)
Becky Mason, Dancing on Water by Catherine Joyce
Reprinted from the The Low Down to Hull & Back News Oct 19, 2005

Becky Mason is happiest with either a paddle or a paintbrush in her hand. Her remarkable career as artist, master canoeist, writer, public speaker and film-maker springs from the passion for the land that has shaped her being since birth. Daughter of legendary canoeist, photographer and film-maker, Bill Mason, Becky has lived her whole life in the Gatineau Hills except for her years studying at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, 1983-86. Growing up on Meech Lake, she and her brother Paul shared the backyard with 13 wolves her father was raising. From an early age she accompanied him on canoe expeditions with the family, where his “Song of the Paddle” took shape on location on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

“My father always encouraged me to pursue my art but he wanted me to know what it takes to become a professional artist – to be able to do it all day, every day, and still enjoy it, without any illusions about money or success. My mother taught me how to manage a life of creativity – she was the emotional support, our sounding board. ” The love of the land is in Becky’s blood. It ties together every aspect of her life. From April to October she teaches canoeing on Meech Lake, drawing people from around the world to experience her techniques. She has captured her reverence for the ancient art of canoeing in her video on Classic Solo Canoeing, and in the many slide presentations and lectures she gives across North America.

Throughout the winter she paints, gathering inspiration from the canoeing expeditions she undertakes with her artist husband, Reid McLachlan. In 2003, as part of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s (CPAWS) northern wilderness canoeing project, they paddled the Berens River in celebration of the boreal forest and its diverse rivers, an experience she documented for the exquisite 2004 book, Rendezvous with the Wild, The Boreal Forest, edited by James Raffan.

Since 1987 Becky has had to contend with environmental allergies to oil paints and other chemicals; therefore her materials have been limited by her health. And yet there is an aptness in her choice of watercolour on Japanese rice paper – a delicacy and grace in her painting that mirrors the fluid elegance of her canoeing. Water ballet on paper. In her most recent series on the boreal forest she attains the ethereal purity of grasses flowing under water, in colours as light and fleeting as music.
“I paint what I know – my vision of how I see the land and water. Out in my canoe, I absorb my feelings. I am awestruck and bring back my memories and arrange them in my mind. Then I paint, trying to recapture the emotions I felt when I was out on the water. I sink into a dream and lose all sense of time. A series can take me years to express the feelings that lie layered inside me. I try to bring that depth to each painting, to evoke that stillness of perception.

Becky Mason’s art bears the mark of such reverence – a quality of stained glass with the wilderness her cathedral. Each season her paddle and her paintbrush bring her vision home.

Catherine Joyce, 2005.
Email: Catherine Joyce <>

"Rebecca Mason is the daughter of renowned film-maker, author and painter Bill Mason, and her work centres on many of the same themes: impressions of her environment and how she reacts to the wilderness. She says "I tend to do my paintings in themes using canoes, trees, and mountains as my subject matter; at least those are my favourites. I enjoy trying to get a likeness of their spirit in my paintings. So, in my current tree paintings, I'm exploring that: how the edges and the painting go together. As I work on the Japanese paper it's almost like they float out to the edges."

"Mason's approach to her work is as soothing as the images, which are soft but bright, complicated patterns - not unlike looking at light coming through trees or across open water. She says "What makes me happiest is when I'm in my studio with a piece of hand-made paper, my brushes and watercolour paint. I usually begin all of my works by wetting the whole sheet lightly and then just let the painting unfold from my minds eye. It's like I'm writing a poem on the page; like I'm writing a story on it, and that's how my inspiration arrives sometimes. I don't really control it, it's my love of capturing my feelings I get from my sense of place that comes out in my paintings."

Andrea Smith, Communication through Hopscotch (Ottawa XPress, Thursday, May 29, 1997)


(Excerpts reprinted from the Ottawa Citizen Saturday May 24, 1997 entitled All (that talent) in the Family by Paul Gessell, 1997)

Reid McLachlan and Rebecca Mason seem to have a marriage made in heaven. They are both painters who met in art school 14 years ago. They both have a thing about canoes. They both love living in the Gatineau Hills.

"We do everything together," they both are prone to say.

There is, however, one problem: Mason is allergic to oil paints. She uses watercolours in her work. But McLachlan uses oils.

Love, however, finds a way. Mason does her work in a room in their home in rural Chelsea. McLachlan does his painting in a small outbuilding in the backyard.

There is an advantage, McLachlan confesses, to Mason's allergy: she stays out of his studio. Both are territorial about their workspace and their work. They have learned what lines can and cannot be crossed.

"In my studio, if Reid comes in uninvited, I growl at him, 'Go away'," says Mason.

Likewise, she approaches McLachlan's studio with caution.

"I go outside and there's a window in his studio. I press my nose against the window and try to peer inside. He's very secretive when he paints. He doesn't want anyone to see him paint."

Peering inside McLachlan's studio, one sees a forest of bold canvasses propped against the walls. Many of the busy portrait - like paintings are steeped in mystery. Something has just happened. Or is about to happen. There are suspicious - looking characters in the background. There's a sense of playfulness but, simultaneously, a sense of forboding.

Inside the house, in Mason's studio, there is calm and order. She paints ethereal canoes and water scenes on delicate, creased rice paper. Her's is a studio of pale blues and reassuring greens. McLachlan's studio is awash in loud, unforgiving red.

"My restful spirit comes out in my paintings, the calming influence of the things I love and live around - the Gatineau Hills, the trees and canoes," says Mason.

"With Reid, there are more of his experiences from being in Italy, the influence of symbolism. There's strong emotions that come out in his painting, strong emotions of love, hate, anger. My work cleans the soul and Reid's tends to agitate".

McLachlan sees their work as complimentary.

"Our work seems fairly compatible in a way. It's so different that it tends to emphasise each other. We find our differences make our work stronger."