Sunday, 5 July 2015

I would like to share an amazing story with you...

Recently, after nearly a year of preparation, we finally launched our crowdfunding project the hardcover edition of Dad's Scrapbook. Amongst all the required pre-launched tasks was an update of his oldest virtual gallery - a sub-section of my Art of Chainmail website dating back to 1998.

The plan was simply enough - clean the navigation - put up fresh links to his current virtual shows and update a now defunct email address.

Little did I know that this clean-up would spawn a series of email communications between my father and a collector - with her permission I have shared this extraordinary conversation below as new friends are made and old friends reunited.


Subject: Searching for Jack Whyte

Dear Jack,

I visited your virtual gallery recently and am intrigued by your work. I recently acquired a sketch done by Jack Pollock in the 50's (sadly from the estate of a friend) and it started me thinking about a few paintings that my husband and I bought in Montreal in the late 60's or early 70's. The connection is that they are labelled as coming from the gallery of Jack Pollock and are signed by Jack Whyte. Two paintings are of generals and one is of a mineshaft in Ontario. I have lived with these paintings for almost 45 years and they are old friends who enrich my life daily. Unfortunately I know very little about the artist who painted them.

Could they possibly be yours?

If this rings a bell I would be happy to photograph them and send the photos for you to look at. If this is not a possibility then I will have to say that I have really enjoyed looking at your virtual gallery. 

Most sincerely, B.S.


Re: Searching for Jack Whyte

Hi B,

Yes, that sounds like my work - if you'd like to pass along photos I may be able to fill in a few details.

Thanks for your interest,



Subject: Photos of Paintings

Hello Jack,

Thanks for your response.

Do these look familiar? It has been a while.



Re: Photos of Paintings

Yes B. - these are old friends for me as well!

The mineshaft is from Elliot Lake in the 1960's. Around the time of the Uranium boom my father was doing technical work for the new mines and I used to hitch a ride north. Then while he was working I would go out and sketch. I ended up doing a whole serious of different shafts in Elliot Lake - these paintings were mostly achromatic due the starkness of the landscape.

I recall the town of Elliot Lake consisting of two buildings - one of which was a restaurant - and bunkhouses everywhere. The roads were mud and reminded me of what the atmosphere of the Klondike must have been like.

The other pair are from a series of acrylics I painted in the 70's called Rips - many of which depicted the military. You are in luck if you would like to know more about how these works fit into the chronology of my work. We have just launched an online project called Scrapbook: a story of art -  a 456-page free-to-read memoir located at

Here you will also find a video introduction to my work which covers my Rips and a crowdfunding campaign for the production of the hardcover edition of Scrapbook for those who are not technically inclined.

Thanks again, it is always great catching up with old friends and finding out what they've been up to all these years.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you,



Re: Photos of Paintings


I really appreciate hearing about the context of the Elliot Lake painting. It makes it even more meaningful for me.

I have been dipping into your scrapbook and am so impressed with how your work has changed and involved over the years!

I am also deeply moved that your son, Dylon, and daughter-in-law, Ashley, are working with you and the Scrapbook Project. Although I joined Rockethub I can't quite get to the point of actually contributing to the project. Oh well - tomorrow is another day and I will try again.

Dylon's fascination with chain-mail is intriguing to me as we had a number of pieces in my gallery at the ROM that were much loved by children and when I retired I briefly had a metal arts gallery where I represented a few artists making jewellery using chain-mail techniques.

Stories for another time perhaps. 

I briefly owned a painting that I thought was yours and could have been part of your Rips series. It was of an old woman - in a blue patterned dress if I recall - sitting with one breast exposed. I loved it but I found it too disturbing. I was young at the time and perhaps did not want to face what I regarded as the inevitability of life so I returned it. Was it yours? 

Best regards and thank you for the information.



Re: Photos of Paintings

Hi B,

Very glad that I was able to fill in some blanks for you!

If the other painting is the one that I'm thinking of - it was based on a true story of my Grandmother - whom I once accidentally walked in on as she was getting dressed with breast exposed - so I eventually painted a picture about it.

Thanks so much for your interest and what a coincidence with Dylon's chainmail - who has spent many hours wandering the ROM's collections for inspiration.

Would you mind if we shared your story as part of our campaign, anonymously of course?

Best wishes,



Re: Photos of Paintings

Hi Jack,

Of course you may share my story. It would be a pleasure!

I believe it was your "grandmother" painting and wonder who owns it now. It clearly intrigues me still. As I write this I am sitting in a cottage with 2 of my grandchildren and I wonder what they would think of it. They grew up with the "generals" so your art has been part of their lives too.

Here is a question. Why did you paint the medals upside down?

Good luck with the campaign and my very best regards, B


Re: Photos of Paintings

Hi B,

 Thank you - I often wonder about what sort of adventures my work has been on as it journeys through time - who it has influenced and so on.

 I'm not sure about the upside down medals, but suspect that the generals may have been just that stupid - then again - so was the Vietnam War.

Thanks again,



If you have a piece of work that you think may be a Jack Whyte original let us know and don't forget to read the whole story with Scrapbook: a story of art 


Update July 23rd, 2015 - Continued here...

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