Niska: Painter of the Soul

I have the pleasure and honour of knowing one of Canada’s greatest living artists, Francois Lortie – ‘Niska’ – and his wife Elona who is a lifelong friend of my wife Debbie.

We also have the pleasure of owning one of his paintings (a very small, but very satisfying one nonetheless!) and hope one day, when I can return to earning a living once again, to purchase a larger Niska.

I also had the ‘honour’ of falling down Francois and Elona’s stairs at their home on the day I first met Francois and picked out our painting. Several of the welds gave way on their steel stairway sending me crashing to the bottom. Fortunately, nothing but the stairstep was broken, and we had a good laugh about it. I suspect the fall had more to say about my gravitationally-challenged body than the stairs. At any rate, I now have a great story to go along with our Niska!

Niska has received countless honours, has been written about in many books, and has just been featured in a two-part documentary called Niska: Painter of the Soul:

Niska is proof-positive of the reality that the most terrible events in one’s life can change that life in a profoundly positive way. He was nearly killed in an accident as a young boy and saw ‘the light’ of God, and has spent the past 60 years trying to capture its magic in his paintings in order to share it with the rest of us.

You can learn more about Niska and his many accomplishments here, but I highly recommend that you first take a tour of the light with him via the documentary before you go.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor

3 responses to “Niska: Painter of the Soul

  1. Dear Mark,

    What a beautiful and eloquent article.. We are so very blessed to have you and Debbie in our life.

    All our gratitude, love and light,
    Elona and Niska

    VoC REPLY: Dear Elona, thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for taking time to write. Mark

  2. Niska@Elona

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you for your loving support .. We look forward to our next visit together with you and Debbie.

    You and Debbie’s friendship is a treasure in our life,

    Elona &Niska

    VoC REPLY: Thank you, too, for the light and love. Mark

  3. Dear Mark,
    Thank you for taking the time from your hectic schedule un Montreal to visit us; It was great to see the Vandermaas extended famuily chez nous.. Stairs were fine and the visit delightful… Your energy and love for Niska’s work contributes to his courage and inspiration to continue painting.

    You and Debbie are treasured friends,
    Elona and Niska

    VoC REPLY: Thanks for the kind words. Seeing you both again was the highlight of our visit to Montreal. Sorry about taking so long to get your note up – I’ve been hoping to do up a new post w/the photos, but haven’t got to it yet. Mark