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Wildlife artist's painting raffle raises $900 for Thompson pediatric unit

During his most recent trip to the Hub of the North, former resident Earl McKay set up shop at the Meridian Hotel Aug. 16−25 in order to sell some of his latest wildlife-inspired paintings. However, he set one creation aside for a charity raffle.

During his most recent trip to the Hub of the North, former resident Earl McKay set up shop at the Meridian Hotel Aug. 16−25 in order to sell some of his latest wildlife-inspired paintings.

However, he set one creation aside for a charity raffle.

This painting, featuring a trio of wolves and the aurora borealis, was won by Todd Moore. The proceeds generated from the draw – $911 – were donated to the pediatric ward of the Thompson General Hospital.

“The reason I’m donating to the children’s ward is because my son was born there and when my son was born my late aunt delivered him,” McKay told healthcare workers on hand to accept the  donation Aug. 25. “So I’ve got two connections with this raffle, and it’s not the last time either. There’s going to be more coming.”

McKay’s connections to Thompson extend beyond just familial ties.

During the over three decades that he lived here, McKay used the area’s natural beauty to help hone his craft, with many of his paintings featuring wildlife and vegetation that are unique to this part of the country.

“If you look at my paintings you can see the trees … I call them ‘Thompson trees’ because they’re all straight, thin and pointy,” he said. “I’ve been up here 34 years and if you notice my paintings in the background it’s all Northern Manitoba.”

McKay even managed to leave his mark on the city’s landscape by painting five Spirit Way wolf statues, and used his recent visit to restore one of his models located near the provincial building.

Because of his unique style and willingness to experiments with artistic mediums, like his famous bison skulls paintings, McKay’s work has been featured in countless art galleries throughout the country, and he has even sold some of his pieces to high profile collectors like environmentalist David Suzuki and recording artist Hank Williams Jr.

Even after he moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 2010, McKay said he likes to return to Thompson on a semi-regular basis to sell some of his artwork, get some inspiration for future projects and reconnect with friends and family.

“I just want to say thanks for the invite and hospitality,” he said about this recent visit. “When I tell people where I’m from back in Saskatchewan I tell them I’m from Thompson. To me this is still my home.”

To view even more of McKay’s artwork, please visit his official Facebook page titled Skullzartworkz.