I’ve been asked many times to share an “art tour” of the paintings Hubby’s Grandpa (artist Bert Weir) painted and today I’m thrilled to finally show you! I love his art. I love his art as a lover of all things beautiful, but I also love his art because I know it means a lot to Hubby that it features so prominently in our home. Hubby and his Grandpa shared so much in common, from a love of sailing to a life enjoyed living in the woods. I suspect that seeing his art every day helps keep the connection alive (Bert passed away in 2018).
Bert was a really incredible person and because Hubby and I got together in our teens, I’m honored to have been able to visit Bert in his home/studio many times over the decades. I’ve never admitted this, but I was always intimidated by him. He was SO passionate about art and nature – and, of course, so immensely talented. When he passed, the loss extended far beyond his family, for he had touched so many lives. I wish I could have known him better, but we never lived in the same city and so our visits were sporadic.
You have seen all of the paintings we own before, but this time I’m sharing some fun stories behind the art that captures everyone’s attention. I’m also sharing some of the different places various pieces have found a home, as I’ve shuffled things around between our last house and this one – and between rooms – as our collection grew. PLUS today I’m sharing photos of his other artwork you’ve never seen!! If you’d like to see more of his art, you can find his website here and another blog post I wrote about his art here. There is also a book about his life and work (pictured above).
Bert’s Paintings Hubby Owned When I Met Him:
When Hubby and I moved in together, I was thrilled to be able to spend more time ogling the two paintings of Bert’s Hubby already owned (pictured below). I honestly think that turquoise abstract is what inspired my passion for this particular color! From the moment I laid eyes on it in Hubby’s spartan apartment, I was entranced. It has lived all over the homes Hubby and I have shared, from the guest room to my office (pictured below) – and now it lives in the main bathroom.
I honestly worry about it there, but I also love that I see it every day. Every room should have beautiful art work, although I’m tempted to now move the framed print from the kitchen in here, seeing as our kitchen renovation and new upper cabinets displaced it. The green abstract, in the photos above, we no longer have because we eventually traded it – I’ll explain later in this post!
Bert’s Paintings We Acquired Together (While Bert Was Alive):
After we moved cities and moved in together in 2007, we visited Hubby’s Mom and Grandpa often because we lived a lot closer. On one of those visits, we were allowed to choose a painting as a housewarming gift and, after hours flipping through paintings, we chose the one pictured below (which was painted in the early 1980s and is featured in the book about Bert):
It too has been enjoyed in quite a few spaces, but currently it’s residing in our bedroom. Along with another painting of his, it’s the first thing we see when we wake up each morning!
The pair of paintings pictured below was a Christmas gift, around the time we lived together in our first apartment. Hubby visited his family alone and came home with these beautiful paintings! They now live in our laundry room, simply because we’re short on walls these days in this smaller house, so this is the best photo I have of them (in the townhouse guest bedroom).
After we got married, we were again offered the chance to pick a painting and we chose the diptych photographed below. I never told Bert or Hubby’s family this, but one of the reasons I suggested that we get married when we did, was so that Bert could attend. He had health problems and I warned Hubby that our time with him was finite. Unfortunately, in the end Bert couldn’t make the journey to join us on that day, but he generously let us choose another painting as a gift. At the time, we drove a Versa hatchback, and were limited to choosing something that would fit into our small car. This pair of gorgeous paintings fit, but once on the wall created a bigger statement. I like to think that it reflects our mindset back then. This pair of paintings is very light and airy, which is how we felt. After we got married we felt so hopeful for our future and always felt lighthearted. Some of our art choices got a bit darker and moodier as the years passed and our life was forever shadowed by a tragedy on my side of the family. The pair of paintings hung above our sofa in both the townhouse and here, in the lakehouse, but eventually moved to my office. I love that I get to look at them every day while I work. They remind me of Bert, and of both his talent and his generosity, but also of those happy, early years of our marriage.
When I spent four months in Hungary, I encouraged Hubby to visit his family. I also encouraged him to ask for another painting while he was there. His Mom had told us that once Bert passed away, something legal (I am foggy on what) would happen to the art and we could no longer freely be given art. She encouraged us to ask for pieces while we could, but Hubby isn’t like that. He won’t ask for anything! I pushed him to though, knowing how much he loved Bert’s art, and he chose this painting, called Joy’s Rock. Unlike our other pieces, this one was painted much more recently. First in our townhouse dining room, then above the credenza when we moved to the lakehouse. Now it lives in our hallway. One day I hope we can move to a slightly larger home to have more dynamic places to hang Bert’s art.
Bert’s Paintings We Acquired Together (After Bert Passed Away in 2018):
Before he passed, he was very generous with his art – as you can see above, we were given many, many pieces , for which I am eternally grateful. After he passed, Hubby was willed his choice of five more paintings, after which we could no longer be gifted pieces. Knowing it was our last time to choose Bert’s art, we travelled to his studio with our truck and even borrowed a trailer so we would not be limited by size this time! There was also a larger selection of bigger pieces, because other family members had also been limited by the sizes of a car or suitcase for transportation home. Not many had the liberty of choosing a piece that’s 8 feet tall, but now we could! Choosing these final five paintings was a lot of pressure! We first flipped through a massive binder catalogue, noting which ones we liked and if they were available. Then we had to try and find those serial numbers and see the paintings in real life. Hubby’s Mom and Bert’s wife Joy had been working hard to make arrangements and I remember they were SO accommodating to us – letting us make the trip whenever it was convenient for us (we were trying to make the drive before it snowed and in between an exterior and bunkie reno). They also helped us choose our paintings, sharing memories of Bert while we contemplated. We learned a lot more about Bert that weekend, and I remember it being a very nice – but too short! – visit, but I’ll admit the world felt much emptier without his presence.
This is when we acquired the massive diptych (called “Wave Patterns”), above the sofa. Bert was an avid sailor (find a poem he wrote about it here) and I believe this is from his 1988 Wave series, a series of 12 massive diptych’s inspired by winds and waves. Hubby acquired his love of sailing from Bert and they had sailed together many times. At the time, we had just recently bought our own sailboatt and were also mesmerized by, and in awe of, the power of water. At the time of choosing these five paintings – and now – the Wave series really resonated with both of us. BUT! You might be surprised to know that at first we considered the full size version of the print below:
The original in pictured below. Hubby’s Mom was so kind and offered us a framed and signed print instead – as a bonus to the paintings we chose. This painting was so haunting, but the one we chose in the end is much more special:
After another choice of ours, from the same Wave Series, was unavailable, we were generously offered this one, which actually hung in Bert’s studio. It was one he loved enough to hang and was taken right out of his home, so it is so very special. I like that every day Hubby sees a painting that his Grandpa saw every day – it just has even more meaning than the ones we almost chose.
When we picked this piece, we made a funny mistake. Originally, we planned for this to go in the hallway but, when we tried to stand it up, we didn’t have the ceiling room (it’s approximately 90″ by 113″)! Whoops. And above the sofa, there’s wasn’t enough clearance – even with our 13 foot ceiling – because of the slope. So we decided to position it slightly below the sofa. Here’s our trick to hanging it – with some of it tucked behind the sofa – without damaging it.
Back in our bedroom, the painting on the right, beside the piece we were gifted when we moved in together, really makes my heart warm and fuzzy. When we were choosing our five paintings, I really tried to let Hubby take the lead. It was, after all, his Grandpa who passed. It took all of my willpower because I’m also passionate about Bert’s art (art in general) and the aesthetic of our home. The painting below was one that I loved SO much. Like the paintings we chose as our wedding present, this one sparked a light in me and made me feel light and happy – something I hadn’t felt in awhile at that time. But as we were choosing, Hubby moved it to the “nope” pile and my heart was crushed. But when he saw how much I loved it, he chose it and I’m forever grateful. I wake up every morning and am reminded what a generous and kind spouse he is, to have let me choose, on my own, one of the final five paintings of his Grandpa’s that he would ever have.
Above the credenza is another piece inspired by Bert’s time sailing – it’s called Leeside Waves (1986). It’s a popular one with family and it was even made into a limited run of postcards – Hubby’s Mom sent us a little note on one once. We even saw it exhibited. I’m still in awe that we now have the full sized version! At first, we chose the one below but weren’t able to take it – and that’s when we realized, by some miracle, that Leeside Waves was still available!
Again, our lakeside location and passion for sailing inspired our choice of this painting. Bert so beautifully captured the feeling of being tossed around by waves, disoriented by the beauty and power. You might remember our last disastrous time sailing!
In the hallway is another painting I wish we had room for somewhere it could be better appreciated. We actually almost chose a different painting. The night after our whirlwind day of combing through paintings, we second-guessed our choices and woke up early, before our drive home, to switch two of them for others. Here were the two we had chosen and ultimately replaced before we set off for home.
While thinking about which two new paintings to select, we almost chose the middle painting below:
But then, as you’ve seen, we chose the one in the middle (and to the left, that’s the one currently in our dining room – so you can get a grasp for the scale):
One day I hope to have a beautiful, big wall on which to proudly hang it, but I do love the feeling of our art-packed hallway – it feels like being in an intimate art gallery.
The second painting we traded the morning before our drive home was this one. We loved it, but knowing it was our last choice, decided to look again for something bigger! Bert’s special talent was painting epic canvases – paintings you feel like you can step into and just vanish from the face of the earth. So this beautiful painting was returned to the collection (one day I hope to buy it)…
On our second viewing, the one below caught our eye but it was spoken for, if I remember correctly. So our trick was to go back to the catalogue and find the other pieces painted around the same time, to see if another, similar one, caught our eye as well.
That’s when we discovered the painting in the office, below. This one really celebrates the beauty of winter – something I struggle to appreciate. I often resent living here, in this never-ending winter with only a split second of summer (which is my favorite season). I love living on the shores of Lake Superior, don’t get me wrong, but it comes at a bitterly cold cost. The winters are harsh and relentless, but this painting made me want to celebrate the beauty of this often snow covered landscape. Bert, I learned, loved the winter and would even paint outside in a snowstorm! Can you see why I was intimidated by him? He seemed larger than life to me. You can see more details of this painting, here, in the DIY tutorial for the easy frame.
After Bert had passed, Hubby’s Mom found a small painting (hung above the chairs watercolor painting) with Hubby’s name on it, so he received it as a posthumous gift:
We re-framed it – something we have never done! We have built frames for an un-framed piece, but never before removed a frame that Bert made. Here’s the tutorial for how we made the new floating frame.
The Painting We Traded For:
When we were choosing our five pieces, Hubby’s Mom let us know that once we owned a piece, we were always free to trade it in. That sparked an idea , because there was a painting we loved but left behind. Apparently other family members had loved it too, but no one had chosen it. Here it is, in the middle, in one iteration of our short list:
We thought about it for a long time and eventually asked if were could trade for it. The green painting you saw very early in this post, the one Hubby had when I met him, had never been a favorite of mine (although it was truly beautiful as well – all of Bert’s art is), so Hubby agreed we could swap it for the autumnal landscape. It just really spoke to us both and reflected the landscape around us here. It inspired us so much, it even sparked the re-design of the powder room! We just had to create a little jewel of a space to encircle it – Bert’s art is too beautiful for bland rooms.
Random Pieces I Photographed
Armed with only my iPhone, I snapped other photos of Bert’s artwork while we were choosing Hubby’s five pieces (some of these are in private collections, the details of which I’ll keep private, some are located at Laurentian University, and some are paintings we considered but ultimately didn’t choose). Excuse the terrible quality of the photos – I just wanted to share these for fun, but know that Bert’s wife, Joy, is an incredible photographer and so on Bert’s website, and in the book about his life and work, you will find much, much better photos.
The photos below were at the University – and it’s where we spotted the idea for hanging such a large painting!
The following three are in private collections:
The ones below are ones we considered but didn’t choose:
One day I also want to buy this little gem of a teal painting (below the painting we traded the morning of our journey home):
I hope you enjoyed this tour of Bert’s paintings! You can read more about his life and work on his website. One of my favorite things about sharing my home online has been introducing his art to so many people! So thank you for reading. If you’d prefer video, I shared a TikTok video tour – which you can find right here.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!