Philip R. Goodwin and the promise of our next adventure

Posted on January 02 2017, by Gladys Breckenridge

Easily, by a country mile, our favourite artist at the lodge is Philip R. Goodwin. You can find prints of his paintings in all the guest rooms and there's an especially good one framed above the fireplace in the map room. (above)

In the 1920s and 1930s, Goodwin was a famed painter of wilderness adventure. He painted wildlife, the Old American West, and various other topics. But his specialty was colourful depictions of men in the outdoors, hunting or trekking. These were slightly formulaic. There would only be one or two men, and they would be colourfully dressed with a red checked shirt, for example. The moment captured was one of surprise, seeing a wolf in the distance, or finding a bear wandering into camp. The protagonist of the painting would often be reaching for his rifle to bag an elk or save his own life. Each painting told a great story of wilderness adventure. 

Not surprisingly, Goodwin's paintings were very popular as  illustrations for books and magazines, as advertisements, and calendars. He provided much of the cover art for Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Life Magazine during the 1920s and early 1930s. He also created the Horse & Rider Trademark for the Winchester rifle company. Many of his paintings and drawings can be seen online thanks to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

I think the reason we love him so much is because each of his paintings reminds us that our next canoe trip, or hike, or fishing expedition will always give us a moment of adventure. It may not be quite as dramatic as riding a log raft down a whitewater river in the Rockies. Nonetheless, the sound of a wolf howling in the distance, or the site of an elk passing by the camp at dawn, will give us the same thrill. And we love that. 

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