Musquash — Local artist Vern Hutchinson, 47, realized a lifelong dream when his original artwork was at last featured on CTV’s Weather Watchers segment. The Atlantic news organization’s on-air meteorologist read his name and displayed his drawing of a rainstorm that flooded his hometown of Musquash, N.B. this past weekend.
“If it happens in the sky, Cindy Day knows why. That’s the mantra that inspired this particular artwork,” Hutchinson told our reporter. “Unfortunately, Cindy’s no longer with us, but this is for her. I love you, Cindy!”
Hutchinson and his family were forced to evacuate their home when the East Branch dam exceeded safe levels as the result of heavy winter rains. But he’s OK with living in a 2-star Comfort Inn for the price of $94/night and taking time off from his day job, because this inconvenience gives him more time to focus on his art.
“They say nothing bad can happen to an artist — it’s all material. So when my basement flooded and we had to move into this crap hotel, I knew I could use that to my advantage, creatively speaking.”
This is the first time Hutchinson’s talent has been officially recognized, and he was eager to share his process with us.
“I use crayons, coloured pencils, and sometimes just a regular old HB pencils — these have been my implements since grade school, when I first started trying for Weather Watchers. Back then I was a little big for my britches and thought they’d accept my first drawing ever, which was very crude compared to the intricacy of this one. As you can see from the drawing, I made sure to get the perfect blue for the raindrops, and conveyed the sadness of my fellow townspeople through exaggerated frowns on their faces.”
Alyse Hand was the anchor to read out Hutchinson’s name on Weather Watchers, and she said it was little more than an empty gesture.
“We had to throw the guy a bone,” she expressed with a sigh. “Apparently he’s been mailing his godawful drawings in for years and years. It was kind of weird to announce that he’s 47 years old and to call him a ‘young Maritimer’ in the same breath, but we were willing to do whatever it takes to force the guy to get a life.”
But what’s classified as “godawful” in Nova Scotia constitutes a prized piece of art in New Brunswick. Local galleries fought for the right to display Hutchinson’s rainstorm drawing, and he sold it to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, where its current asking price is $47,000 — a grand for every year of his life.
Hutchinson said his art career received a much-needed shot in the arm thanks to CTV.
“You can bet that after this I’ll continue to keep a close eye on the skies and to draw what I see — that’s a guarantee.”