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Item Name: Painting
Title: Early Morning, Flax in Bloom
Maker: Ruth Pawson
Year: 1984
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on canvasboard
Measurements: in frame: 50.5 cm x 62 cm; work: 39.5 cm x 44.5 cm
ID Number: ART 206
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: Regina-based artist Ruth Pawson was deeply inspired by the landscape in Southern Saskatchewan. She frequently painted outdoors in all weather, only resorting to working in her Volkswagen car as she got older. In this painting, pale blue flowers in a field perfectly mirror the colour of the summer sky. Known as flax, this plant usually blooms in July. Though there are many types of flax that grow wild around the world, domesticated flax (linum usitatissimum) is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean basin. It has been cultivated since Neolithic times for fibres to make linen cloth, and for its seeds, to use in food and to press for linseed oil. Domestic flax was imported to North America in 1617 by French colonial settlers. Today, 75% of Canada’s flax production is grown in Saskatchewan, about 500,000 tonnes annually. Ruth May Pawson (1908-1994) was born in Stratford, Ontario and moved to Regina in 1912. Pawson earned a teacher's certificate from the Regina Normal School in 1927 and taught for ten years before she was able to afford art classes. She attended the Regina College of Art where she studied with Augustus Kenderdine and Gordon Snelgrove, earning an Associate of Fine Arts degree (1940). Pawson later attended the Emma Lake Summer School, and several summer sessions at the Banff School of Fine Arts taught by A.Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven. She became a teacher in elementary schools and at the Regina College of Art. In 1976, the Regina Public School Board named an elementary school in her honor. For her contribution to Saskatchewan art and art education, Pawson received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1993. Her work is held in numerous private and public collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, Banff School of Fine Arts, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.