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artist Harold Lyon..............

Harold Lyon has worked with many different individuals at a variety of jobs. Harold's work habits had their start with mowing lawns and trimming bushes and trees. Hoeing gardens picking strawberries and raspberries are just a few of his work activities. From the summers of 1937 until 1943 Harold was rewarded with a Bank account of $ 1,700.00 . The Bank manager of the Royal Bank of Canada in Kingsville Ontario jumped up from his desk and greeted Harold as he came into the bank. Hello Mr. Lyon . This recognition from The Bank Manager was encouraging and added to the rewards of self discipline and dedicated work habits.

When Harold was 13 his family moved from the Kingsville area to Feronia Ontario, near North Bay. This is where his mother borrowed the $ 1,700.00 to buy a Farm and 365 acres, a Maple sugar bush, barns a house and lots of farm equipment. Harold finished grade eight in Feronia and the next year started grade nine. Attending the North Bay Collegiate Institute and Vocational School. His father Herbert J. Lyon ( who could not read or write ) decided that Harold would be more valuable working on the farm , so Harold had no choice at fourteen years but to comply. Harold left with his clothes and started down the road, headed for North Bay, but his mother caught up to him and convinced Harold, with hollow promises, not to leave .

The working experiences of milking six cows twice a day, feeding the horses, chickens and cattle were the his daily chores. Hand carrying water and feeding the individual horses and cattle was a daily activity through out the winter. Cleaning the barns in the winter was a constant necessary activity. Since there were no Veterinarians available, Harold was given the job of delivering new born calves. Those of you who have had experience know that sometimes one has to turn the calves to prepare them for delivery. This function is necessary in order for them to be born, with a little tug of the rope attached to the calves feet, presto a new born calf.

There came a time when my father decided to scrap the farming, the sugar bush. Tapping maple trees and gathering the sap to be boiled down for Maple Syrup was a spring activity. Harold learned very quickly that a Crosscut Saw that was dull made cutting 4 foot wood for the furnace in the sugar shack a big chore. Harold's father attended the sugar shack and the boiling of the maple sap. Harold and a hired hand looked after the tapping of the trees and gathering the sap water. All of the farm equipment was rusty so Harold painted all of the equipment red, so that his father could sell the wagons ploughs and mowers etc.

Now came another challenge, Harold was put to work cutting all of the Maple Forest into 16" wood to be sold in North Bay for the customers that were heating their homes with wood. Our box stove and kitchen stove also burned hard wood maple for heating and cooking. The maple forest was finally cut and delivered to North Bay. There were silver birch trees to cut for sale for veneer. The spruce and balsam trees left on the property were also delivered to Temiskeming Quebec for pulp wood. Six hundred cords of pulp wood ( a cord is 4'x4'x8' ) were cut with a swede saw one spring. Harold remembers the aching back and the cords of wood very clearly. Oozy the hired hand piled the cord wood and trimmed the branches off to make sawing easier.

His parents separated.Their fragile marriage broken, and they left Feronia, with his mother Harold moved back to the Kingsville area. Since Harold had not finished grade nine he attended the Kingsville High School in 1950 to finish grade nine. Harold then had to share crop several acres of Tobacco with the established farmer Wellington Waggle. The summer of 1950 found Harold planting tobacco, hoeing and cultivating as the need arose. The single horse was cooperative which made the job a little easier. The final activity of topping the tobacco plants, then suckering the unwanted small shoots and finally harvesting the crop of tobacco. Now Harold had just enough money for tuition for the Meinszinger School of Art in Detroit.

The ride to and from the Art School was easy. The street car down Woodward Avenue to the CHILD'S restaurant was rewarding because tasty food was awaiting. Eight hours of school and eight hours a buss boy was easier than cutting wood and attending the farm animals. The small room with a soft bed was a welcome sight for a tired Harold. There was still a little home work to do for school activities.

Harold made a big mistake in the winter of 1951. He decided to catch a job at Dodges Car Factory .. (More money). The assembly line on the motor block line was boring and came with a wasted hour or two after the production was complete. There was no tasty food, the money was better and Harold saved enough funds to pay for the tuition at the "Ontario College of Art in Toronto Ontario Canada.

Harold moved to Toronto in 1951-1952 and attended the Ontario College of Art where he was rewarded with two of the best art instructors in the world ... George Ford and Fred Findlay. Harold didn't make the same mistake twice. He got a job at the "TOPS RESTAURANT" as buss boy, where the food was good and part of the job. Harold also got a job baby sitting on the side , with the manager's children which came with a room and a place to call home. This worked out just fine, the best situation possible for someone who had to inovate to survive.

The two years of the intense activities of working and school were too much. Harold decided to move to Winnipeg and then Brandon Manitoba, where he worked at Brandon Meat Packers. All of this time he was dedicated to the illustration art field. All of his spare time was utilized creating illustrations of furniture drawings and fashions illustrations for newspaper advertising. After a short while Harold moved to Calgary Alberta where he landed a job with the Hudsons Bay Company as illustrator of fashions and furniture. From 1956 until 1959 Harold honed his skills as an illustrator of furniture and fashions.

The department store of Frederick and Nelson in Seattle offered Harold a job at illustrating their furniture. The move to Seattle and the United States of America was easy because of his duel nationally. The trauma came after arriving at the art department of the Fredrick and Nelson to find out that the job was for freelance work only. Well Harold recovered from the shock and rented an office in the Seaboard Building in Seattle and went into business with strong intent. Within a few days Harold with his Illustration Samples made progress in acquiring a slate of freelance business prospects that included Bon Marche, Weisfields Jewellers , West Pacific Advertising, Famous Footwear, and several other prospects.

From 1960 until 1965 Harold prospered illustrating every thing imaginable. Harold honed his skills and took advantage of the knowledge attained from his professors at the Ontario College of Art.- Professor George Ford and Professor Fred Findaly. Harold had noticed that the technology of printing for finer quality news paper ads in full color would eliminate his job as feelance illustrator. During the last year or so in Seattle Harold ,slowly turned to fine art painting when illustrating was slow. His paintings found a welcome place at the Artists Sales Gallery in Seattle. The Managers of the gallery were Mr. and Mrs. Mattocks. Bill and Margaret were very encouraging to my career as a fine art painter. The rewards were many, Harold could not keep up with the demand. In 1965 the decision was made to move to a property on the Lake Okanagan which had a house and a building suitable for a studio. Peachland British Columbia was central to the new fine arts community. Harold continued to provide the Artists Sales Gallery with paintings. Now Harold opened up new galleries in Calgary, Edmonton. Kelowna and Phoenix Arizona. This was a very successful beginning, Harold had a hard time filling the requests of the art community.

The new studio in Peachland needed a little modification to Harold made the necessary changes. The New Studio was heated with an Ashley wood heater. Guaranteed to burn all night when the dampers were closed. Well it did keep the studio warm day and night. However one night it gat a little to warm and the result was traumatic. Harold removed the ashes from the big fire and started fresh. Harold designed and constructed an A frame studio with a small gallery and electric heat. This was the best situation possible. The American market for fine art demanded quality and a variety of subject matter. Harold has now painted portrates.. old barns.. flowers .. wagons .. fishing boats .. children .. the old west.. and any subject that the individual collector asked for.

The market in Phoenix was more demanding and Harold decided to move to the most appealing area. To give you a rough idea of the number of paintings created during his career, it is well past the ten thousand mark. Harold has written a book "CREATING ILLUSIONS", based on the expertise of the former professors at the Ontario College of Art. This is the only book that actually covers the rules of creating "DEPTH" .. "MOVEMENT" .. "COLOR" .. " DENSITY" and "COMPOSITION". The varied experiences of this artist are many, the rewards have encouraged this artist to succeed and feel the rewards of achievement.

Author: Katnerine Lyon