• James Parry

Super senior Marcel Bradley still painting at 92 years young in his home town of Hudson

PHOTOS BY JAMES PARRY Marcel Bradley and his beloved Raymonde take time out for the YLJ camera in front of his latest painting of Pine Lake completed just last year and now hanging above the fi replace in their home-studio in the heart of the village.

Back in 1999, Hudson artist Marcel Bradley started a photo album intended as a souvenir for his children. And as he was selecting photographs dating back to the year he was born at 371 Main Road in the little village – a house still standing virtually unchanged – it brought forward vivid recollections of people, events, and places that had a significant influence on his life.

Indeed, the more he handled the photographs, the sharper became the memories. And as he told Your Local Journal in an exclusive interview this week, “It made me realize that, like many other people, I had experienced my share of disappointments but also had been privileged with a lot of happy and enriching moments. Two years later, I decided to add words to those photographs and write a book.”

Titled Hudson 1924 to Outer Space, it was published a couple of years later following two winters in Florida writing, researching, and remembering. And, like everything else that Bradley - now 92 years young with a birthday coming up in January - has created during his long and full life, a true work of art.

“It has been a wonderful journey so far,” said Bradley while sitting at his easel in his painting-packed home studio just a short walk from where he was born in 1924 and surrounded by so many memories and with a new painting just started. “And it is far from over!”

A better description of Bradley’s ‘home studio’ would be ‘art gallery.’ A veritable time capsule of Hudson portrayed in oil paint and encompassing its major landmarks and natural attractions, its five former railway stations, churches, the Lake of Two Mountains, the Ottawa River, Pine Lake as it once was, and its once thriving ice harvest that began in the early 1900s and would continue to be a major source of employment in the region until 1960.

Then there are paintings of his extensive travels, together with his beloved Raymonde, in Mexico, the South of France, and Cuba long before it became a major tourist destination for Canadians. Also personal and signed reproductions of instantly recognizable impressionist and post-impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Gaugin.

And then there is his real pride and joy captured on canvas, some paintings that remain from his mind-blowing Man: Progeny of the Big Bang 19-work collection created for an exhibition in 1996. Depicting through his eyes, the evolution of the Universe from what he describes as The Big Bang to The Big Crunch still yet to unfold.

“And hopefully, in my case at least, not any too soon,” added Bradley whose paintings hang in private collections and galleries throughout North America and Europe and who, just four days prior to our interview, had undergone yet more treatment for cancer. His 10th, including operations, for different types since he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998.

Said Bradley, albeit it with a twinkle in his eye, “Yes, the years seem to have gone by so very quickly. And even though I have started to slow down a little just recently, I still paint almost every other day while allowing for the oil to dry. I still play golf on occasions at the Como Golf Club where I once caddied as a teen and where, while I never made much money, the people were always nice to me and I can still hit the ball straight on the fairway. And, most importantly, I still have the love and support of my beautiful Raymonde after all these years.”