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Daniel Patterson //  Veronique La Perriére

Since 1937

Since 1937 & 1972, the Brucebo Fine Art Scholarship Foundation of Gotland, Sweden has offered a fine art residency/scholarship to talented emerging professional Swedish and  Canadian artists providing an inspiring study/work stay in northern Europe on the island of Gotland, located in the Baltic Sea. The Brucebo fine art scholarships hark back to the post-impressionist era in Europe, where two young artists, Caroline Benedicks of Sweden and William Blair Bruce of Hamilton, Canada, met in France, married and after many years on the European continent, settled on Gotland Island. With the untimely death of William in 1906 and that of Caroline in 1935, the estate,  created the Brucebo Foundation, an organization promoting island-based cultural history and fine art. To commemorate the unique Swedish-Canadian link of Caroline’s and William’s marriage and impressive artistry, two annual fine art scholarships for younger, professional Swedish and Canadian artists were established : The Brucebo Fine Art Summer Residency Scholarship and The William Blair Bruce European Fine Art Travel Scholarship.



It’s difficult to summarize and put into words my experience on Gotland. When I arrived on the ferry and was driven to my cottage, it was dark. The feeling I had, waking up after a 12 hour sleep, looking out over Sjaslo towards the sea, stayed with me for three months. The complete awe, like I was living in John Singer Sergeant painting or a Tove Jansen drawing, consumed me on every walk through the Nature Reservet, or sunset down by the water. I think I’ve only ever partially understood when artists talk about being inspired by nature.


I’ve sat outside the Banff Centre and drawn, I know what beauty does. This experience transformed these ideas for me. These solitary months - walking , reading and living simply - the light, wind, rock formations, Rauks, birds, bunnies and trees, gave me a completely new understanding of painting and the way I can use it to respond to an experience.

By far, the highlight of these three months and the most valuable for me as an artist were the hours I spent in solitude in my studio, or walking along the water. Those days, were the ones that transformed my relationship to painting. I have come home with a new love for the medium I’ve chosen to work in it’s evident in whats happening in my studio. My approach has a new lightness and simplicity, like somehow the wind and light and have changed my gesture. 


Gotland allowed me to distant myself from an urban north American life and live truly intergrated in nature. I could have done it in Canada, but a new language and foreign culture simply enriched the experience. It is no coincidence that to this day I continue to adress the theme of the landscape in my work The content has changed, the style has evolved, but my affinity to the land and my love of travel continues.


Every so often when I drink a glass of schnapps or eat RÖKT FLUNDRA, I am taken back to the fisherman of Gotland and those wonderful swedish artists who shared this very priviliged experience with me. It is my wish to one day return. 


By the summer of 1990 I was at a point in my artwork where things had gotten a little too tight. The most wonderful thing happened when I arrived at the Brucebo Atelier I forgot about everything I was doing back in Canada. Suddenly I felt I could paint in any way I wanted there were no restraints. So I let loose and for 2 months I explored my medium of paint on canvas. It did not matter if the paintings were good or bad. What was happening is that I was breaking down som mental barriers. By the end of the summer, when it was time for me to return to Canada, I took with me about 25 little canvases. These works then stimulated a whole new series of paintings that are still in the process of evolving. 


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