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Both of these paintings celebrate everyday beauty.

Helen Parsons Shepherd’s fruit and bottles are a more traditional take on still life, while George Noseworthy finds poetry in the rubber boots drying over the stove.

  Noseworthy Shepherd

Fisherman's Boots

"The island of Newfoundland, being well out into the Atlantic Ocean, is equal to placing an object on a mirror under a lamp. The surface of the sea acts as the mirror which causes an underlight or backlight. An incident of blue from sea and sky is quite prominent on most objects in this environment. Add to this, wind energy and tidal energy and the result is an effect on all objects which makes the island and environment quite unique."

George Noseworthy, 1978
Excerpt from artist statement in Newfoundland Rhythmics exhibition publication, organized by Memorial University Art Gallery, 1978.

George Noseworthy was born in New York in 1929. After graduating from New York State University Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences and the Art Student's League, he worked for 21 years as an art director for major advertising agencies and publishers in New York.

'Come Home Year' in 1966 marked an official time for former Newfoundlanders or people with ties to the province to return for a visit. Noseworthy was inspired to spend the summer touring Newfoundland – his parents' homeland.

Noseworthy settled in Hibb's Hole (now Hibb's Cove) and immediately began to paint and become involved with the community. He helped establish one of the first museums and children's art and music centres outside St. John's.

In 1970, Noseworthy became the first artist to paint the annual seal hunt on location, creating 33 pieces of work. In 1971, he joined Memorial University of Newfoundland's Iceberg Towing Expedition, creating 15 paintings.

Some of these paintings are now part of the collections in the care of The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, while others are on display at the council chambers in St. John's City Hall. Primarily a painter of landscapes, Noseworthy attempted to express what he referred to as "rhythmics," the harmonious dynamics between the sea, land, wind and people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

In addition to the collections mentioned above, his artwork can be found in private and public collections across Canada, the United States and Europe.

Noseworthy passed away in 1985. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the sea and land he loved to paint. He composed the epitaph inscribed on his urn. It reads: "Say not that you viewed my art and saw life, but say you again viewed life and saw my art."

Fisherman’s Boots (My Kitchen in Hibb’s Hole House)
1968, oil on linen
71.1 x 76.2 cm
The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland Collection

Still Life

"I enjoy painting in my own environment the things that I am familiar with and like. I feel pure enjoyment when interpreting the objects I see around me every day the way light plays on white, the contrasting red of an apple, how light filters through glass."

Helen Parsons Shepherd, 1985
Excerpt from artist statement in 12 Newfoundland Painters exhibition publication, organized by Memorial University Art Gallery, 1985.

Helen Parsons Shepherd was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1923. Parsons Shepherd's mother and father, poet R.A. Parsons, exposed their children to countless books and art of various forms.

When Parsons Shepherd was a young girl it was a common practice for her to sketch visitors that came to their home. Her brother, Paul, became a well-known watercolour artist and Parsons Shepherd is considered one of the most respected portrait artists in the province.

Parsons Shepherd attended Memorial University of Newfoundland for one year, spent four months at a nursing school in Montreal, then one year clerking for her father's law office before she decided to pursue a fine arts degree at the Ontario College of Art. In 1948, she earned her degree from OCA, making her the first Newfoundlander to do so.

That year she married Reginald Shepherd, a fellow student attending OCA. After Reginald graduated in 1949, they moved to St. John's to co-found the Newfoundland Academy of Art (NAA), the first art school in the province.
Parsons Shepherd was an art instructor from 1949-61. As well as teaching at the NAA, she conducted classes at four St. John's convents and continued with her own work.

The Shepherds decided to close the NAA in 1961, giving Parsons Shepherd time to concentrate on commissioned portraits which were booked as much as two years in advance. She painted numerous portraits of public officials and prominent members of the community, including the mayors of St. John's, presidents of Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a portrait of H.R.H. Prince Philip.

In 1978, Parsons Shepherd was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. She received an honourary doctorate from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1988.

In addition to being part of the collections in the care of The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, her artwork is part of private and public collections including the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick; the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Power Corporation, Montreal.

She continues to pursue her own artwork and paint commissioned portraits full-time in St. John's.

Still Life
1971, oil on masonite
55.9 cm x 66 cm
The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland Collection

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