Calgary Artist Draws Children, Hockey Fans


17 November 2002

o-1 visa
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Full Text: I don't know anyone quite as passionate about hockey as Bill Brownridge. But I'm not talking about NHL stars; he loves watching, and painting, kids playing shinny -- roaring around the ice wearing a warm scarf and a tuque.

When he reads the books he's written and illustrated to audiences, he explains to young people that growing up in Rosetown, Sask., he longed to skate, but a medical problem resulted in a leg being amputated when he was just 15, so he had to watch his friends enjoying themselves.

His best friend and lifetime hero was brother Bob, who went on to play for the New York Rovers from 1938-40 and on the Calgary Stampeder hockey team that won the Allan Cup.

It was an era before television and computers, so Brownridge spent his winter time writing and drawing. He's made a career out of being very good at doing both.

A graduate of the Alberta College of Art & Design, when I first met Brownridge in the early 1960s he was a partner in KB Graphics, designing for clients such as Eatons, Alcraft Printing and Baker Lovick Advertising. Then he joined Ed Anderson at Dot Signs for a couple of years before accepting the job of associate creative director at advertising agency Francis Williams & Johnson in 1973, where he stayed until he retired in 1996 to paint and write full time.

I worked alongside him for 10 of those years and well remember his tremendously creative talents. During that time he was awarded a 1975 Canada Council grant to paint the vanishing railway buildings on the prairies. The exhibition was shown at the Glenbow and the National Museum of Science in Ottawa, and toured all over Western Canada. He still has the 35 paintings of stations and 20 sketches of railroaders which surely should be exhibited again.

But hockey was his life, and it often crept into art and conversation. I remember being given the task of persuading people that Genstar was still a Canadian company even though the executive office was being shifted to One Embarcadero Place in San Francisco. The illustration Brownridge used to identify with Canada was kids playing hockey on a frozen pond.

Wish I still had it because today his paintings are very collectible.

His latest paintings of little stars on ice are being exhibited at a new Winnipeg gallery, Mayberry Fine Arts, on Dec. 1; on Dec. 7 at Canada House Gallery in Banff; and at West End Gallery in Edmonton on Dec. 12.

Brownridge is busy today promoting his new book Victory at Paradise Hill, the third in a somewhat autobiographic trilogy about the adventures of the Moccasin Goalie (the name of his best-selling first book) growing up on the prairies. He's just finished a book-reading tour of 19 schools and libraries on Vancouver Island, where he was thrilled to find hockey legend Howie Meeker in the audience, and will continue with a reading followed by sketching with the children at McNally Robinson bookshop on Stephen Avenue Walk at 11 a.m. on Nov. 23.

Brownridge has also formed a marketing company, Heart of Hockey, selling his books, limited-edition prints and greeting cards on the Web, which his old friend Ed Anderson is managing for him. He has a lot on his plate, including being interviewed for a feature article on his work which will appear in the January/February issue of WestJet's magazine, but Brownridge still finds time for his favourite relaxation -- watching kids laughing and enthusiastically learning to skate on the Bowness lagoon -- future stars on ice who are unknowingly the subjects for his next canvases.

His experience in shooting photographs for the Stars calendar has created opportunities in the United States for Mark Mennie.

The graduate of the Alberta College of Art & Design has worked out of his own shop in Calgary for the past 10 years, seven of those with Alberta Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society as one of his clients.

He has many corporate customers as well, but it's his extensive and unique experience in trauma rescue photography that has earned Mennie a U.S. work visa in the category "O-1 Extraordinary Ability."

He's just returned from Kansas City, Mo., where photographs he shot in conjunction with the media department of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., were shown at the opening session of the Air Medical Transport Conference. Incidentally, the conference is run by the Air Association Medical Service; its international president is Dr. Greg Powell of Calgary.

You can appreciate Mennie's talent on this year's calendar, but hurry and buy yours before the 120,000 copies run out.

The legal profession magazine Lexpert has named Richard Shaw, senior partner of the Calgary office of McCarthy Tetrault, one of Canada's top 30 dealmakers in the practice of mergers and acquisitions.

Quite a finale for a rather special year for Shaw who has also been named to the 10-person national board of directors of McCarthy Tetrault.

Formerly regional manager of Western Canada for CARA Operations and for the past seven years a franchisee with two Harvey's Restaurants and a Second Cup coffee shop, David Blackman has joined Premiere Executive Suites as partner and executive vice president.

Under the leadership of president Diane Jones-Konihowski, the company now owns or leases 35 high-end condominium suites in the Eau Claire and West End districts of Calgary which are enjoying a 98 per cent occupancy, and has partner branches in Halifax, Moncton and Montreal.

Harry Yeung has done it again.

For the second year in a row The Design Centre annual reports have won the Vic Humphreys Best of Show in the Oilweek magazine awards.

Last year, AEC placed first, this year it was Prime West Energy Trust -- both designed by Yeung who also captured the graphic design award for best junior oil and gas annual report for his client Progress Energy.

As the man responsible for Second Cup franchises in Alberta, Randy Neufeld knows lots about running a successful operation. After too much travelling, he was keen to settle down in one spot and when the firm offered him a move to Toronto he quit and bought his own franchise. He's the new owner/operator of a very busy location at 5th Street and 5th Avenue S.W.

Gerry Robitaille has been name vice-president of corporate development at the Calgary head office of BW Technologies. He will facilitate the merging of BW Technologies with Vulcan Alarm and be responsible for co-ordinating activities surrounding future acquisitions.

Electrical engineer Guy Gervais retains the role of president of Vulcan and has been named vice-president of commercial operations at BW Technologies, based just outside of Montreal. His duties include the development, manufacture and sales of commercial gas detection equipment worldwide.

Congratulations to Sydney Sharpe on the launch of her fourth book, A Patch of Green -- Canada's Oilpatch Makes Peace with the Environment, published by Key Porter Books.

I pride myself in staying ahead of the news, but it's hard to keep up with Doug Mitchell.

I only found out the regional managing partner in the Calgary office of law firm Borden Ladner Gervais had been appointed as chair of its National Council from an advertisement in the National Post.

Congratulations.


Source: Calgary Herald