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For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 69, No. 4
ISSN: 1488-2159
April 2003

Cover Artist: Dr. Jim Messer

The cover art for the April JCDA is a painting of a deHavilland Beaver CFJAT flying over northern terrain, signed by Dr. Jim Messer. The plane is heading towards Goose Bay, Labrador, over Lake Melville. The vast empty landscape and rich, endless hues in the sky were common subjects in Dr. Messer's paintings.

The Beaver CF-JAT was well known to residents on the Labrador coast in the 1960s, says the artist's son Murdo Messer. “I grew up hearing about it and seeing it in the many models that Dad created as static displays from which to paint. In 1970, this plane developed engine trouble in flight after take-off and made a forced landing near St. John Island on Lake Melville. Passengers were evacuated to the nearby shore, but the plane sank after it was pushed against the rocks by waves and the floats were punctured. It was a close call for those on board.

“This painting was the last one Dad completed before he died in 1995,” Murdo Messer relates. “The original now hangs in my mother's living room. To me, it captures many things. In it, I see the beauty of flight. The way the plane is suspended in the sky is magical. The painting captures the forbidding beauty and vast emptiness of the Labrador landscape. The passenger in the window makes me think of Dad — a last farewell flight of imagination into a brightening sky of new horizons.”

Born in Wemyss Bay, Scotland, in 1940, Dr. Messer graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Scotland's Glasgow University Dental School in 1964. Emigrating to Canada, he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Dalhousie University's faculty of dentistry in Halifax in 1982. Relocating to St. John's, Dr. Messer was chief of dental services for Grenfell Regional Health Services in Newfoundland and Labrador from1976 to 1994.

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