Rather than seeing nothing but Helen Andersen pieces here, how about if we pause for a look at a watercolour by one of her mentors? The photo doesn’t really do it justice, because it’s much easier to appreciate Kit’s skill, knowledge and dexterity if you can look at the original. Still, I hope you can get a sense of the fluidity, the sense of depth and movement he has created with such seemingly simple means. He knew his colours.
“Kit” was more than a nickname. When Mr. Thorne lost his young wife to illness, he absorbed her name into his own and honoured her with his enduring love in this way.
Not a talkative man, in my experience anyway, Gordon Kit Thorne had his depths. He had been through the horrors of trench warfare in WW I. He felt great pity and sorrow, he told me once, for the horses. They had done nothing to deserve the atrocities that befell them. For men, I felt he had less sympathy.
On his return to Canada, Kit decided that he would earn his living by his brush. In sleepy Vancouver, that was a tall order and that brush had to paint walls and decorate signs as well as do paintings. Still, he had the tenacity to endure.
He was a proud craftsman, too, as a printmaker. Sometimes he included the letters CPE after his signature, indicating his status as a member of the Canadian society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. Helen once persuaded Kit to bring a small, portable etching press over to our house and he spent the afternoon showing us how to make our own etching on copper plate.