8 Year Anniversary party winners: Joan Hochstetler's book winner is -- Caryl Kane, Naomi Musch's ebook goes to Crissy Yoder Shamion, Roseanna White's winner is -- Connie Saunders, Pegg Thomas's "A Bouquet of Brides" goes to Deanna Stevens, Debra E. Marvin's winner is -- Becky Dempsey, Carrie Fancett Pagels' giveaway of Colonial Michilimackinac: Michigan State Parks goes to Wilani Wahl, Carla Olson Gade's winner is Leila Reynolds, Shannon McNear -- Kaitlin Covel

Friday, November 2, 2018

Historical Artwork that Inspired Story

Like many writers, when I begin to plot and plan a novel, one of my favorite activities is to collect photo inspiration for the story. Sometimes this comes after the story is written, but often there are items, places, and people that have inspired settings or characters in the book, and I like to have an image of them.

One of those inspirations for my new release Mist O'er the Voyageur was the fascinating artwork of several artists of history.

  • Frances Anne Hopkins 
Mrs. Hopkins lived from 1838-1919. She was the wife of a fur trader - the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) official Edward Hopkins. One of her early paintings, Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior, was selected by the Royal Academy for exhibition in London while she was a young wife and mother in Montreal in 1869. That painting helped to inspire the title for my book Mist O'er the Voyageur:

One of her most famous paintings also fed my imagination, and I am fortunate to have a print of this 1889 classic called Shooting the Rapids:

Mrs. Hopkins lived a very interesting life, and if you'd like to learn more about her, I recommend reading this post: http://www.hbcheritage.ca/people/women/frances-anne-hopkins

  • Arthur Heming 
Mr. Heming was  both a novelist and a painter from Canada who didn't merely dream up his visual depictions in his tales or paintings, but he also spent a great deal of time in the wilderness and was able to depict the harsh life, danger, and skills of the voyageurs from personal experiences. His work entitled Canadian Express shows the challenges the voyageurs faced as the freight haulers to and from the wilderness forts:

This one depicts the voyageurs taking a rest, referred to as "a pipe" and is aptly titled Taking a Pipe:

  • Michael Gnatek
  • Paul Calle

Michael Gnatek passed away in 2006, but not before accumulating a fabulous gallery of historical military art from various periods. I love his painting of a mountain man wearing a Hudson's Bay blanket capote. His work reminds me of another contemporary artist, Paul Calle, whose paintings are so details, right down to the weathered facial lines in mountain men and trappers. I am blessed to have two of Paul Calle's prints on my living room walls.  Do to copyright, I won't post the images, but I hope you'll check out the links:

The two Paul Calle prints on my wall. Here they are on Pinterest:

END OF A LONG DAY by Paul Calle

  • Margaret Killarney
Another contemporary artist, Margaret Killarney, another oil artist from Ontario, draws you into her paintings of the northern Lake Superior shoreline the way a stained-glass window beckons you into glorious prisms of light. Her work has even been featured on the cover of Lake Superior Magazine. Check out the beautiful imagery on her site:

  • Original Photographs of the Past by Various Historical Photographers
Though I can't share the actual photos which belong to the Minnesota Historical Society, please take a look at this piece written by Paul Peter Buffalo, as he chronicles his historical heritage along with a number of photos depicting native individuals and families (mostly Chippewa) along with their lodgings, handiwork, and lifestyle from long ago:


These are just a few of the artists that contributed imagery to my imagination as I penned Mist O'er the Voyageur. I must also say that when I first saw the cover for Mist, I let out a squeal of glee. I cannot overlook the talent of graphic artists who can compose the work of photographers and other artists into such beautiful book covers able also to capture our literary imaginations.

I hope you enjoyed taking in  some of this fabulous artwork. If you'd like to see more, follow my Pinterest board: Amazing Art, and also the boards for my individual book titles. Hmm...why not just follow them all? ;)

Here's to every artist out there!


  1. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for the info!

  2. Great pictures and I can understand your delight when you saw your cover. It is beautiful!


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