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Whether it's commissioned art, historical painting or book illustration, Canadian artist Laurie McGaw's masterful work has been captivating audiences for more than 35 years.
Whether it’s commissioned art, historical painting or book illustration, Canadian artist Laurie McGaw’s masterful work has been captivating audiences for more than 35 years. Her first love is portraiture, and her vibrant portraits of such renowned figures as jazz artist Oscar Peterson and film director Norman Jewison have earned her international accolades. McGaw is also known for her award-winning illustrated books, most notably the children’s book Polar the Titanic Bear, which has sold over 680,000 copies and was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 1995.
McGaw began designing coins for the Royal Canadian Mint in 2002, when her drawing was chosen for a 50-cent silver coin commemorating the Stratford Festival’s 50th season. Since then, she has designed many of the Mint’s most popular coins, including the outer ring of the Mint’s $300 premium gold coin Olympic Ideals (2007).
Having worked on collector coins celebrating the much anticipated Royal wedding in 2011, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, McGaw was thrilled to be chosen by the Mint in 2013 to design a series of commemorative coins celebrating the royal birth. She pored through old photographs of her own children, now aged 22 and 26, to find inspiration for the coin designs. Her detailed pencil drawings took shape over the course of the next three months, and slowly evolved from 16 original drawings to the final five coin designs. “As someone who follows, and admires the Royal couple, I was pleased to have the chance to work on these coins, which will become cherished family heirlooms for many Canadians,” said McGaw. “I’m really happy with how the coins turned out, in particular the silver coin with gold plating, which looks even better than I could have imagined.”