The Colors of Canada’s Passion

Artist Profile — Carole Spandau

Sparks fly from the keyboard when two of my interests intersect. It’s happening today as I write about art and ice hockey. Yup — this lover of art and design teared up Friday when Bobby Orr carried the Olympic flag, and has been known to wake her babies when Joe Thornton scores a goal.

With the Olympics in Canada, I thought it a perfect opportunity to introduce you to Canadian artist Carole Spandau who—with brush and pigment—tells the story of Canada’s national winter sport.

Snowy hockey Game at Wilensky's

In her Canadian hometown, affection for the sport is hereditary. “Montreal is now, and basically has forever been referred to as Hockey Town,” said Carole.

“I grew up in the sixties, watching the great Maurice Richard score goals for the Montreal Canadiens—the Habs—as they are also called. I love to paint his famed #9 on the red sweaters of my hockey heroes in tribute to him and the passionate way he played the game.”

Street Hockey

Carole’s years as an art teacher led her to document the spirit of the game in and around her scenic city. “I credit finding my artistic vision, voice and subject matter, with the 15 years I spent teaching and mentoring the inner-city kids of Thomas Darcy McGee High,” said Carole.

“The school was located in the heart of the old culturally rich part of Montreal, where the majority of my visual story-telling takes place. Surrounded by magnificent outdoor spiral staircases, old historical and Victorian architecture, quaint little mom-and-pop shops and great eateries, my muse was found.”

The Red Staircase

Carole finds ample inspiration from little ‘Rockets‘ on all manner of makeshift rinks. “Though technically we have 4 seasons in Quebec, our winters take on epic proportions, lasting seemingly forever,” said Carole.

“Kids actually still play street hockey, rink hockey, hockey near corner stores, and if they are lucky, pond hockey, all the while dreaming of playing in the NHL or becoming the next Wayne Gretzky, carrying the Olympic Torch all the way to the top of the world…going for
the gold.”

Late Afternoon Pond Hockey Game

Carole’s rich appreciation of art and color started early. “I grew up an only child in a bustling household filled with six adults,” said Carole. “Luckily for me, my uncle was an avid book collector, and I remember many joyful hours spent pouring through his magnificent Art Books, the summer I turned five.”

“Receiving my cherished box of 64 Crayolas, I devoured those colors – broke them into pieces, using the broad sides as well as the tips, dotting and dashing, slashing and crashing about the papers and shirt cardboards my mother gave me, creating my own happy little color-filled world.”

Hockey Game Among the Shadows

The pressure to be a good artist also came early. “In Kindergarten, the art teacher told my parents that my paintings were advanced, and that I was not a flash in the pan, her actual words about a five year old – what a lot to live up to.”

Outdoor Rink Among Tall Trees

Classically trained at Montreal’s Ecole Des Beaux Arts and McGill University, Carole’s formal art education began at age nine, when her grandmother treated her to Saturday morning lessons at the famed Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, under the direction of Arthur Lismer, the celebrated painter and founder of Canada’s Group of Seven.

“After class, my mother, grandmother and I would wander the massive halls of the museum, discovering the great masterpieces previously only glimpsed in those precious art books.

“As well, I was totally captivated by the most colorful, exciting and striking paintings that I had ever seen…by Canada’s Group of Seven, my favorites being my great mentor and teacher Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson and Tom Thompson.”

Olympic Hopefuls

I thought you’d enjoy this story that Carole shared with me, about one of her hockey paintings.

“I was commissioned by an elderly lady to paint her late husband’s Butcher Shop, complete with kids playing hockey in the laneway,” said Carole. “Her family had owned the place during the 1940’s-1950’s before selling out. I completed the piece only to discover that the woman had passed away.

“Later that summer, while preparing for my show in a local mall, a girl that I had gone to high school with, recognized me, and asked if she could visit my show prior to opening. Rummaging through my canvases, she suddenly exclaimed, oh my goodness, I can’t believe this – you have a painting of my father-in-law’s Butcher Shop. (He had purchased it from my original customer in the 1960’s, and worked there until its closing some 25 years later.)

“I was totally flabbergasted – what are the odds?? Several days later, on Father’s Day weekend, Adele phoned to tell me how she had just surprised her husband and in-laws with the painting. Each man tried to talk to me over the phone, but they were too emotional and moved to say anything but thank you. No, it is I who must thank them for having given me the opportunity to enter into their lives and to share such a personal memory with this hard-working family. “

Vintage Hockey Game #1

Artist Carole SpandauYou can view and buy Carole’s work including her hockey paintings, and other colorful Montreal scenes, or contact her regarding commissions via:

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15 Comments for “The Colors of Canada’s Passion”

Carole’s paintings are a true tribute to Montreal. Her paintings have always brought out the lively spirit of the city in both it’s scenic beauty, and it’s love of hockey.
Viewing her work is like a stroll through time, imagining the hockey greats of the past, and visiting places that have remained favorite landmarks of Montrealers for decades.
Her work is as vibrant and colorful as the city itself.
Carole is certainly one of Montreal’s best artists and continues to inspire us all with her beautiful artwork dedicated to a city that loves it’s hockey.

wonderful article that showcased carole’s work beautifully. you can feel her love of hockey oozing right through the canvas!
her montreal scenes are not to be compared! i hope everyone googles carole and checks out her other work, just as lovely!

Carole, beautiful bright colors and lovely brushstrokes are vibrant enough for any sport, but Brava for “painting” the Olympic Games! ~Zeana

Carole’s art is beautiful, vibrant and inspirational. I’ve been a big fan for quite a while now, and always look forward to her new paintings. Congratulations Carole, this article is well deserved.

WOW Carole – fantastic that your gorgeous work is being showcased with the Olympics. What is more Canadian than hockey. Your art with its’ rich vibrant colour, is a great tribute to our Group of Seven legacy, our culture and your skill. I loved the “shared story” Congratulations.

Carole….Your colours shoot — they SCORE! Fabulous work — congrats on this fine article & enjoy the glow!

Carole, As ever, your work is superb. You are giving the world beautiful works of art. Because of your incredible talent, you put onto canvas what most of us cannot even put into words.

Carole, I am always enthralled by your work. You bring whatever scene you depict to life. I always get a surge of nostalgia when I set my eyes on your exquisite paintings. How lucky are we that you are able to preserve not only pieces of our city but more so you have the knack to captivate the emotional sentiment of your pieces. Bravo.

Carole, Congratulations on a great article! I love your art….it brings joy to my soul! Bravo! ~ Natalie

Carole, your work is really beautiful. I love your fearless commitment to vibrant colours. Congratulations on this wonderful article showcasing your work, and as a fellow Canadian, Go Canada Go.

Wow! You all conveyed what I felt when I found Carole’s work. As a lover of color, art and hockey, Carole’s paintings really spoke to me. She is a darn nice woman too.

And don’t tell the US team, but I might be siding with team Canada this time, since they have four of my beloved San Jose Sharks.

I appreciate all of you stopping in and adding to the conversation here at

Hi Carole,
What a wonderful article! Congratulations! Your work is great and I am impressed by your success. Keep it up and I look forward to hearing from you again sometime.

Kendall Kessler

Your works of painting are not only simply beautiful but they answer people’s need to
see art that is reflective of their own human activities and positive experiences like the urban markets and sports or scenes of every day life that they can relate to immediately
and fell warm by their experience!

Wonderful, wonderful, is your name sweet Carole. Your paintings are always a joy to view and admire. Congratulations, and God bless you.

I am a long-time fan of your work Carole and this article is a truly fitting tribute to your passion and dedication to your craft. You also portray your love of your city so well. Heartfelt congratulations–and wishing you more success to follow.

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