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    Arnold Nogy


    Nogy's ties to Algonquin Park run deep. This wilderness treasure has been a major source of artistic inspiration since his early twenties. It is also the scene where Nogy's relationship with the Royal Canadian Mint began.

    “As a child, I remember reading Tom Sawyer—the way he lived outdoors—and thinking I was reading about myself,” recalls Arnold Nogy from his home near Orillia (Ontario).

    Like Tom Sawyer, Nogy also spent much of his childhood in nature.

    “My father owned a seasonal business in Honey Harbour (on Georgian Bay), and I found myself in the wilderness from thaw to freeze. Our cottage was only accessible by boat; there was no TV, so I had to venture outside to amuse myself. I remember swimming with otters and being totally captivated by the tiniest details of bugs and leaves—even bones. But instead of talking about my adventures, I would draw them.”

    By the time Nogy was 12, he was using paint to colour his drawings. He was never one to gravitate to a particular subject but followed his inspiration—animals, flowers, people—even the way light plays on sky and snow around an abandoned white farmhouse. Inspiration shows up in unexpected places, and Nogy's camera and sketch notes are always at the ready to capture those fleeting images before they disappear.

    “My camera has preserved magnificent scenes that I could not draw on location because of bad weather. I volunteer as a ranger in Algonquin Park. We'll fly deep into the backcountry for end-of-season patrols. We hike and canoe for one to two weeks; it's quite an adventure, not to mention an amazing opportunity for my art. Over the years, I've retraced many of the Group of Seven's footsteps, including the very spot where Tom Thomson painted his legendary Jack Pine.”

    Nogy's ties to Algonquin Park run deep. This wilderness treasure has been a major source of artistic inspiration since his early twenties. It is also the scene where Nogy's relationship with the Royal Canadian Mint began.

    “It was 1995, the 35th anniversary of New York's Society of Animal Artists. The Society decided to hold its annual show outside of the U.S. for the first time and chose the old museum in Algonquin Park. I was one of the few Canadians elected to the Society; I was also one of the youngest and was delighted when my work was juried into the show.

    “The guest list was the ‘who's who' of wildlife art, including Canadians Robert Bateman and Michael Dumas. I was so excited to meet my ‘heroes,' but to my surprise, they wanted to talk to me about the maturity of my work and my style. Many friendships evolved from that show.

    “Susan Taylor, a senior engraver at the Mint, was also present. She felt my work would be perfect for coins and encouraged me to submit sample pencil drawings.”

    Six months later, Nogy got his first assignment: four dogs for the Mint's 1997 Friends of Canada Discovering Nature Series.

    Nogy recalls, “It was quite a challenge to come up with four different poses that worked together as a set, each one ‘fitting' within such a small circle.”

    That challenge grew when Nogy was asked to draw a complete dogsled team. “The Mint wanted the dogs to run from left to right and to look energized. After much sketching, I came up with a 3/4 perspective, as if they were rounding a curb. I made the first two dogs as large as possible and added in the rest of the team, all going from left to right.”

    Nogy submitted a few variations of the dogs within the same setting. Once the Mint made its selection, the design was vetted by an expert. Then, Nogy drew the design within a 7” circle and applied colour. Surprisingly, expert feedback has always been minimal, a testament to Nogy's powers of observation and artistic talent, particularly in light of the fact that he is entirely self-taught.

    “I also prepared seven designs for the hummingbird coin because the goal was to emphasize its flight, one of the hummingbird's most prominent features.”

    One has to wonder how an artist can capture the essence of such a tiny and quick bird, or any moving animal, for that matter. According to Nogy, “Books and photographs are useful in getting the ‘mechanics' right, but you really have to be in the animal's presence to grasp intangible qualities such as mood or atmosphere—even character.”

    Says Nogy with an unmistakable air of wonder and appreciation, “I live on 50 acres of land, a paradise of creation. All the birds I have drawn for the Mint can be found on my property. My yellow Lab, Bailey, is an ever-present model for canines. Regardless of what subject I'm looking for, I know I'll find plenty of inspiration just outside my door.”

    Evening Grosbeak - Coloured Coin (2012)
    Evening Grosbeak - Coloured Coin (2012)


    $29.95 CAD
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    #118003
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Coloured Coin (2012)
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Coloured Coin (2012)


    $29.95 CAD
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    #117753
    Fine Silver Maple Leaf - 25th Anniversary Fractional Set (2013)
    Fine Silver Maple Leaf - 25th Anniversary Fractional Set (2013)


    $199.95 CAD
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    #120674

     

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