© Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Mint
Original artwork from former Swift Current artist Bernie Brown is featured on new $10 and $25 silver collector coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint.
Artwork created by former Swift Current resident Bernie Brown is featured on a pair of recently released collectable coins from the Royal Canadian Mint.
Brown, who moved from Swift Current to Okotoks in 1993, has two of his drawings featured on $10 and $25 silver coins in the Mint’s “O Canada” collection.
“It’s pretty special,” Brown said. “I can’t even describe it. It was something I never ever aspired to and I just can’t believe they were interested.”
Brown was one of several artists contacted and asked to submit a piece for consideration. The Mint said they wanted artwork that accurately portrayed Canada’s cowboy heritage, something Brown was more than happy to provide.
“That part I was pretty comfortable with because I’d always really strived for accuracy in my pictures,” he said. “Then it was a matter of trying to figure out which rectangle shaped picture I could fit into a circle and make it look interesting.”
While accuracy was the main concern, restructuring the drawing to fit in a circle proved to be a lengthier task. Even after his drawing was chosen, Brown still had to make a few changes to get things just right.
“I had to take the shadows out of the picture because the engraver wouldn’t be able to see the three dimensions, so I had to redraw parts that had shadows in them. Then they guided me in terms of working within the shape of a circle to bring in the details.”
It took about two weeks to get the drawing to a place where both Brown and the mint were satisfied. After seeing the actual coins Brown said he’s pleased with how they turned out, and how they portray a lifestyle that’s becoming more and more rare.
“It’s disappearing and I think it’s too bad,” he said after some reflection. “It’s such a wonderful way of life and yet it’s such a hard way to make a living. The price of cattle fluctuates so much, the cost of everything goes up and the profit margin gets slimmer.”
Brown said he was surprised to see his designs chosen since this was the first time he’d been asked for a submission. He said he is honoured by the selection and hopes to get another call from the Mint in the future.
However, when he first saw the finished product he wasn’t thinking of ranching or drawing, he was thinking of his father, an avid coin collector, and how happy he would have been to see the two coins.
“He collected coins all the time,” Brown remembered. “He passed away a few years ago, but I think he would be so excited and proud.”
Information on how to purchase the coins can be found under the "Shop" tab of the Royal Canadian Mint at www.mint.ca. Products can also be ordered directly from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada.