Wintertime can bring storms and difficulties (as depicted in William Kurelek’s painting “Balsam Avenue After Heavy Snowfall” – 1972), but it can also be enjoyable for all of the different fun activities that it brings. There are traditional sports such as hockey, curling, skiing and skating – and leisure activities such as sledding, building snowmen or snow forts, or throwing snowballs.
There is a wonderful tag game for the entire family to enjoy that is played in a park or large back yard covered with a layer of freshly fallen snow: the fox and the geese. There are two things you need to play this game – snow and people! Good fun! Great exercise! Lots of laughter! I have included a video of this game at the end of this article.
William Kurelek, a famous Ukrainian-Canadian artist (1927-1977), grew up on the prairies in western Canada. Many of his paintings depict scenes from his childhood in the 1930s or images of the countryside – and many were used to illustrate children’s books. He won the 'New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book Award' for “A Prairie Boy's Winter” and “Lumberjack,” and the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians Illustrators Award for “A Prairie Boy's Summer.” The covers of these books are shown below.
Kurelek wrote an autobiography called “Someone With Me,” published in 1973. It was revised, condensed and reprinted in 1980 by McClelland and Stewart (Toronto).
Mary Cutler has written a biography of Kurelek published by Tundra Books (2002) called “Breaking Free: The Story of William Kurelek”.
Michael O’Brien published an article about Kurelek’s life and his religious beliefs (and paintings) in Image, a journal of the arts and religion (Spring 1995, Issue 9, Pages 73-95). A link to this article appears below.
Other Readings and References
Kurelek Website – Galleries, Audio & Video, Biography Timeline, and more
The Passion of William Kurelek by Michael D. O’Brien
Fox and Geese Video by the Slentz family