A Morning Surprise
In this pen-and-ink monochromatic watercolour, Dixon depicts an ambush on settlers. In a letter, he wrote, “the latest dispach from the front gives an account of a massacre at Frog Lake, one person only being spared.” [In fact, nine were killed and about seventy taken prisoner and later released.]
“It is to be hoped that Riel and the other ring leaders who are responsible for this trouble and misery may before the end of the Rebellion meet with their just deserts but with the United States to the South and a wide extent of forest to the North, it is not improbable that they may escape our vengeance and retribution.”
Quyon Ferry, Ottawa River, 1898
Following the Northwest Rebellion, Dixon found a job with the Dominion Lands Branch of the Department of the Interior. His new position involved much travelling to inspect branch offices in their various locations.
As he travelled, Dixon painted landscapes as he saw them from Manitoba and the North-West Territories to Ontario and Early Morning, Canoe on the Gatineau River
While in Ottawa, Dixon’s professional life and his painting career flourished. He became the assistant deputy dominion lands commissioner in 1910 and had a summer residence at Cascades, Quebec. He painted many views of life on the Gatineau River, including the peaceful scene above of a man lauching a birchbark canoe on quiet water. Quebec. He moved east in the late 1890s when the Dominion Lands Branch relocated to Ottawa.
In Ottawa, he painted everyday scenes, such as this one of a horse-driven passenger ferry between Ottawa and Quyon, Quebec. A modern ferry that can carry ninety passengers and twenty-one vehicles still crosses there today. Logs on the Gatineau Cascades, Quebec
The Gatineau River was also a busy waterway for the logging industry. As the painting above illustrates, it was common to see logs floating downriver on their way to be processed at mills in the Ottawa region.
Dixon died at his Cascades summer residence in 1914 at the age of fifty-eight.