Carl Spiess married his wife, Jennifer, at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on a hot summer day in 1994. In 2000, one of their wedding guests offered to sell them his family heirloom painting, which had been found in an attic and later displayed on loan at the McMichael. In 2016, Carl did some research before he and Jennifer visited the exact location where Harris painted this said sketch in Rossport, Ont. Many other discoveries have followed this adventure.
Carl has recently joined the Foundation Board at the McMichael where his passion and ideas are keeping the McMichael staff busy. For the past 27 years and counting, Carl has also led a successful career as a financial advisor at ScotiaMcLeod.
Your favourite hero in fiction?
I would have to go with my engineer/geeky side and say Jean Luc Picard, the captain from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is fair, logical, strong, and a good leader. He has a softer side as well, which is shown in an episode where he does some painting.
Your favourite physical landscape?
That’s easy. The northeast shore of Georgian Bay with the windswept pines. I love its wind, waves, trees and rocky shore.
Your favourite work in our permanent collection?
A.J. Casson, White Pine. Jennifer and I purchased our wedding invitations with this sketch from the McMichael Gallery Shop.
Qualities you most appreciate in an artwork?
The ability to help us remember a time or place we have been before. I enjoy seeing some of the Group of Seven’s paintings being linked with the actual physical sites where they were painted – some now over 100 years ago. It is interesting to see what changes and what stays the same.
Your greatest extravagance?
Windsurfing trips or toys. I’ve been windsurfing for 37 years now, and hope to keep doing it for decades more. Recently I’ve been competing as an amateur on the International Windsurfing Tour. Maybe that love of the wind explains my fascination with paintings of bent trees.
Your favourite season at the McMichael?
Summer. The heat reminds me of our wedding day at the McMichael.