When asked what’s the name of his collection, Ron Paull answered tongue in cheek “Grounds for Divorce.”
But he quickly added his wife Pat is pretty good about it.
In all, Paull has 51 different artistic interpretations of St. Saviour’s Church in Barkerville.
He acquired his first church in 1975, a pen and ink limited edition by Michael Duncan. It was part of a Cariboo series by the artist.
He decided to begin a collection when he purchased another St. Saviour’s Church by Steve Mills in 1992.
“I have so many, I don’t have wall space,” Paull said.
The collection is the Quesnel Gallery Show for January and Paull said it works nicely with Barkerville’s 150th anniversary this year.
He’s doesn’t remember exactly how he was invited to display his collection but figured it had something to do with his frequent visits to the gallery looking for new St. Saviour Church images.
Collecting aside, Paull feels very connected to the church.
“I’ve always had a spiritual connection to St. Saviour’s Church,” he said.
“In fact I’ve always had a thing for Barkerville.
“I’ve traveled a lot but one of my favourite spots in the whole world is sitting in front of the bakery in Barkerville.”
Paull’s collection includes wall art in many different media, three-dimensional wooden buildings (his newest acquisition is a 5.5-foot barn board structure by Dave Smith made from Don Hendry’s old fence), painted rocks, photography, needlepoint, a felt hanging from Diane Thompson at Riversong Farm, a chair with the church on the seat back and a stained glass wall hanging.
“I have a quilt in the works, as well,” he said.
Two styles still elude this collector, a plasma cut metal church and one in pottery.
“I’d love to hear from anyone that can help broaden my collection,” he said.
Paull loves the church image so much, St. Saviour’s has appeared on his tourist guide cover at least four times.
Not all his pieces are original works of art but he loves them all.
“I’ve also commissioned artists to create churches for me,” he said.
One is a small lighted miniature carved from three pieces of cottonwood bark by local carver Ted Stahl.
“I have thousands of dollars invested in my collection,” he said.
But possibly his absolute favourite pieces have a family connection.
Two are artwork done by his father and one by his granddaughter Alexi Christieson.
Having admired Paull’s collection, Alexi drew a picture of the church and entered it in a Provincial Heritage Fair where it won first prize. One of the prizes was having the artwork on the Heritage Fair T-shirt.
“She gave me the T-shirt and the original artwork for Christmas and I’ve framed the whole works together,” Paull said.
“I love it.”
If you have a unique image of St. Saviour’s Church, contact Paull, 250-992-8994.
The January show is sponsored by the Quesnel Art Gallery. Paull’s private collection of St. Saviour Church hangs until the end of January.