Dreamin’ Grand Bend

Story by Casey Lessard
Painting by Helga Otton

After a trip to Cuba, an inspired Helga Otton returned to Grand Bend with plans to document the town in the way Caribbean artists do. The result is Dreamin’ Grand Bend, a surreal collage of favourite Grand Bend landmarks painted in acrylic on canvas, as seen at left.
“I put in what I wanted, but I’m sure some business people will say, ‘How come I’m not in there?’ But I was looking for interesting architecture.”
The buildings that are included are iconic, Otton says.
“I knew I had to have a steeple in it for the skyline, and the rest are landmarks of Grand Bend. The church is a landmark as are the lighthouse and the bathhouse. I used a couple of cottages from the old village. Dairy Dip is pretty important; you can’t come to Grand Bend without having an ice cream. FINE is a cute little building.”
Otton, who is inspired by Lake Huron and often paints the lake, admits she left out some iconic parts of Grand Bend.
“I don’t have any sand. I couldn’t put sand in it. (Casey: “No bikinis either.”) I do have T-shirts in the Island Beach Company window!”
Several prints have already sold, including one on its way to Florida, and another to Toronto. It’s enough to inspire Otton to consider more using this technique.
“With the response I’ve gotten, I think I might do more.”
If you’re interested in getting a print, Otton will be part of the Sunset Arts Christmas show November 7 and 8 at the gallery in the River Road art complex. Otherwise, you can contact the artist directly at 519-238-6671.
Prices are as follows: 8×10 matted prints are $55, 8×10 framed prints are $100, 16×20 prints on canvas are $275, and 20×25 prints on canvas are $385.