Saskatchewan Grain Elevators


As I upload these paintings, I sometimes experience a keen longing to go back to that exact spot and paint again. Although it’s possible, it’s not probable. I booted around Saskatchewan looking for abandoned prairie homesteads; I knew they were there from my painting trip the prior year. Finally, I stopped trying to meet my preconceptions and looked at what was actually there. Two abandoned grain elevators in the far distance caught Mary’s eye, and we lurched along a range road to get to them. There was one hour until sunset.

A truck pulled up. Gordon Kish, rancher and auctioneer, is the last remaining resident of the ghost town of Neelby, Saskatchewan. In fact, he owns all 220 building lots. Settled in the early 20th century, Neelby had a railroad line and a grain depot, but nearby Kipling was more visionary. It built a reservoir and piped water to the rail line. That made it more useful for steam engines. Neelby faded and died.

Now all that’s left are a few decrepit wooden elevators and power lines marching to the distance.

The sun set as Mr. Kish and I chatted. Reluctantly, Mary and I left Neelby forever.

In 2016, my daughter Mary and I set off across Alaska and Canada on a Great White North Adventure, which you can read about starting here. We arrived in Anchorage at the beginning of September and got home in mid-October. In between, we visited every province but PEI (been there, done that), and Yukon Territory. In retrospect, it might have made more sense to do this during the summer, since Alaska and Canada threw a mess of strange weather at us.

1 in stock


Saskatchewan Grain Elevators is 8X10, oil on archival canvasboard.

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