The Bridgetown Series (1977-1986)
In the mid-1970s, Ken Tolmie undertook a long series with a sociological focus, capturing a part of Canadian life which had rarely been explored visually. He moved to Bridgetown, in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, and through his paintings chronicled the life, people, farms, domestic scenes, and animals of this small town. The result is the Bridgetown Series, a group of over 500 paintings that form a narrative about a small agricultural community of a kind that is now rapidly disappearing. The series consists mostly of watercolours or drybrush watercolours, but there are a few oils on canvas; many are reproduced in A Rural Life, published by Oberon Press in 1986, and the series was also featured in CBC and TVOntario documentaries several times during the 1980s. The Owens Art Gallery of Mount Allison University and National Museums Canada sponsored a trans-Canada touring show of the series 1982-84.
This section of the website features a selection of Bridgetown Series paintings. Although rural subjects are no longer the artist’s principal focus, he continues to add to the Bridgetown Series from time to time; several recent paintings are available in the Current Work section of this site. The artist explains his goals for the series on the Stye and Technique page.