Bideford artist Nan Ferrier accepts an unusual commission
by Sue Gallant
It’s not easy painting a work of art outdoors, onto the concave surface of a large, tall, disused, satellite dish. The job is made even more challenging with a pot-bellied pig hanging around at the base of your ladder, passing the time by using the structure upon which you are precariously balanced as a convenient backscratcher. It’s the kind of highly unusual commission that some artists faint-of- heart might shy away from, but which Nan Ferrier of Bideford says she greatly enjoyed this fall.
“In early summer I was commissioned to paint a picture of the original, old Warren House and farm, in Warren Grove,” said Ferrier. “The present owner is Adele Peters. Later in August, Adele again contacted me and wondered if I could paint a mural onto a large, non functional satellite dish in her yard.” Always ready for a challenge, Ferrier gladly accepted, and made a number of proposals for the subject matter to be included onto the mural, of which Peters chose one.
Following a chance telephone conversation between friends later that day, Ferrier was joined in Warren Grove by fellow artist Richard Vickerson of Charlottetown. “I just dropped by to take photographs,” Vickerson explained, “I then offered to help reach some of the high spots and ended up doing the (background) areas of colour.” Vickerson says it was a unique experience and one which he enjoyed.
The finished satellite artwork depicts rural countryside and features animals owned by Peters, all of which live at the Warren Grove property. Those animals include: Porky the farm pig; Lilly the pot-bellied pig (Ferrier notes Lilly smiles a lot); Molly the mare and Spirit her foul; and Duke the Dalmation dog.
Both Ferrier and Vickerson signed the dish when the mural was completed, and Peters is thrilled with the result. “I am telling you, it turned out just lovely,” says Peters, “just excellent. I am so proud of it, I show it to everybody.”
“It was a wonderful day and a great experience,” says Ferrier. “I think Nan should apply for a Canada Council grant and go across the country doing it,” suggested Vickerson. Would Ferrier consider doing more satellites, if asked? “Sure! Anything legal for money,”she replied, laughing.