Information about my fourth Cause The W. E. Ricker Begins Another Expedition Supporting the University of Vancouver Island W.E. Ricker Memorial Scholarship awarded annually to students in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

The best way to explain how I’m involved in this particular project is to present a copy of the painting journal about the painting given below.

Shown just below is the finished painting with a custom floating frame I built from wood deck planks recycled from the CCGS W. E. Ricker, thanks to Ed Wright, CCG – Deputy Superintendent Marine Engineering, Sidney.

The W. E. Ricker Begins Another Expedition Painting Commission Journal

The Beginning Story

It all began when I met Eric Ricker, the son of Dr. Bill Ricker, a renowned Canadian fisheries research scientist that worked at the prestigious Canadian Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Eric and I had a wonderful chat that day in April while I was briefly working at Nanaimo Home Hardware. The topic came up about the famous Department of Fisheries and Oceans research vessel and then the Canadian Coast Guard offshore fisheries research vessel., the CCGS W.E. Ricker, named after Eric’s father.

I asked if an artist had ever painted the ship. Eric mentioned a painting made for a personal private commission, but it was not publicly displayed. We went on and finished our conversation.

I did not give it too much thought about our conversation until the following day. I suddenly thought I should create an oil painting of the W. E. Ricker as a public art piece. So I called Eric and asked what he thought about it. He supported the idea. He recommended I contact Dr. Dick Beamish, a well-known and internationally respected fisheries research emeritus scientist; he wanted me to share the painting commission idea with him. Dick worked closely with his father, and they had a great relationship. He gave me Dick’s phone number.

I called Dick a few days later, and we had a great first conversation together. He shared information about his professional relationship and the history of the W. E. Ricker, and what he knew about it today. He also told me that a new research ship called the ‘CCGS Sir John Franklin,’ an offshore fisheries research ship of the Canadian Coast Guard is currently being refitted to replace the CCGS W. E. Ricker. The W. E. Ricker was to be sold for scrap. It was not easy to find out about the ship’s state because there were many levels of bureaucracy.

During the conversation with Dick, I decided I would create the oil painting at no charge to have the public enjoy it. I also felt that prints of the oil painting get sold to support a cause related to BC Fisheries. I asked if Dick could provide me several images of the W. E. Ricker that I reviewed to determine the best photograph of the ship. He appreciated my offer and said he had some photos and would email them.

Dick also thought the painting would reside in the Pacific Biological Station or on the ship, CCGS ‘Franklin.’

Within the week, I received images of the ‘W. E. Ricker’ and chose one photo and decided the size of the painting would be 16” by 24”.

Painting’s image derived from a photograph Dr. Dick Beamish had taken from his home in Nanaimo.

The size of this painting was coincidentally the same as my last and first ship painting, entitled, ‘HMCS Calgary’.

I presented the ‘HMCS Calgary’ oil painting early last year to the HMCS Calgary ships company at their annual fundraiser called ‘Cowboy Up’ to help raise funds for their cause, the Foothills Burn Unit in Calgary, Alberta.

The Painting Commissions Begins

Saturday, May 24th: 4:38 pm – 5:30 pm

The finished canvas will be 16″ High x 24″ Wide x 1.5″ Deep. I made the stretchers bars for the painting canvas out of Western Maple. I cut the length needed and then with my planer. I beveled the top of each plank by hand, leaving the outer edge to curve the canvas and stretch over the bars. I glued the bars together so that they had squared corners.

Monday, May 25th:

6 pm – 6:15 pm

I cut the canvas to size.

9:15 pm – 9:45 pm

I steamed out the creases of the canvas and then stretched the canvas over the stretcher bars.

Tuesday, May 26th: 6:30 pm – 7:40 pm, 8:00 pm – 8:10 pm

I primed the canvas with its first coat of white latex primer and then later added a second coat.

Saturday, June 6th: 6:15 pm – 6:38 pm, 11:16 – 11:29 pm.

I set up the painting with my opaque projector and then waited for it to get dark outside so that I could then trace the image of W. E. Ricker onto the canvas.

Saturday, June 13th: 2:15 pm

I took a photo of the painting with the pencilled image of the ship.

My wife, Lisa, a professional artist suggested creating videos to record my painting process.

The plan was to document this and promote the painting on social media. To do this, I needed approval from Dick Beamish, and Eric Ricker to use their names and record the painting progression. 

I called Dick and left a message for him to phone me. I want to make sure he agrees to it before I proceed. I also contacted Eric, and he thought it was a good idea and was fine with me using his name to support this significant painting project.

Sunday, June 15th: 11:40 am

I talked to Dick about my idea to record the process of painting and show it on social media. He agreed that this was a good idea.

He said he would like to see the painting hang in the Pacific Biological Station or on the CCGS ‘Franklin’ ship to replace the ‘W. E. Ricker’ as a Canadian Coast Guard research vessel.

1:00 pm – 2:20 pm

I cleaned and prepared a new painting palette and then painted the first coat of oil paint for the sky and landscape. I filmed parts of the session and then photographed the painting progress.

Saturday, June 20th: 6:17 – 7:30 pm

I posted the video on social media: Facebook and LinkedIn.

Friday, June 26th: 5:26 – 5:47 pm

I added a third base coat to the sky and landscape.

Sunday, July 5th: 5:31 pm

I recorded the beginning of my session while adding a sky and landscape colour similar to colour in the photograph.

In some cases, you need to step away from your work to see it later with fresh eyes.   

Wednesday, July 29th, 2:17 – 3:44 pm

I developed the water line that included the buildings and clouds and then outlined the ship. After this, I applied the first coat of paint o the water. I took a photo of my progress and then made a Facebook and Instagram post.

Monday, August 17th, 6:40 – 7:29 pm

I added the final coat of paint to the sky. Then I started to add the waves to the water. After the session, I took a photo of my progress and made a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram post.

Friday, August 28th, 12:03 – 2:17 pm

I continued developing the waves and completed this up to the edge of the ship. I will let the painting dry a bit. I took a photo and updated my progress on social media: FN, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Friday, September 4th, 4:44 – 5:05 pm

I missed painting the ocean area between the rear crane, so I painted the dark blue base colour a few days ago. Today I painted in the waves. Next, I will start painting the ship.

Thursday, September 10th, 2:30 – 3:50 pm

I started painting the ship by adding white, red, black, and yellow ochre oil paint. I took a photo of the progress and later made Facebook, Linked In, and Instagram posts.

Monday, September 14th, 2:43 – 3:27 pm

I traced out parts of the upper deck. I then applied a second coat of red paint to the ship. Then, I touched up the waves around the upper deck area of the ship. 

Saturday, November 14th, 4:17 – 5:07 pm

I traced out the vertical stacks and other details on the ship in pencil.

Monday, November 16th, 3:12 – 5:10 pm

With white paint, I added the vertical stacks and deck fences, and other details.

Saturday, December 19th, 3:55 – 6:52 pm

I worked on the ship’s details and took a photo of my painting.

Monday, January 4th, 4:34 – 5:50 pm

I worked on the details all over the ship and then took a photo of my progress.

Sunday, January 24th, 3:45 – 5:18 pm

I painted intricate details on the ship that also included the title, W. E. Ricker.

Friday, February 5th, 12:10 – 4:50 pm

I finished on the ship for now and then worked on the waves in front of the boat. I took a photo of the painting progress and shared my progress with Eric Ricker and Dick Beamish.

Saturday, February 6th, 4:38 – 5:52 pm

I completed a second application to the waves at the bottom of the painting. I shared my progress on social media: Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and Twitter, and got wonderful feedback from viewers.

Rickwood’s Menswear & Art Service

Published by Derek Rickwood · February 6 at 7:10 pm

W. E. Ricker Update

Here is the writeup from my business Facebook post:

Yesterday I added the final details of the ship. I could not decipher the writing on the ship in the photograph. Fortunately, I found an accurate and detailed photo and was able to see the print on the ship.

Now, I was able to see words on the ship in both English and French such as Coast Guard, Garde Cotière and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pêches et Océans Canada. The word Ottawa was underneath the ship’s name, located near the stern of the ship.

I moved forward with the project and painted waves beside and below the ship. By the end of my session, I had completed two-thirds of the wave patterns.

Today I completed the wave patterns to the bottom of the painting. Next, I will add the waves to the bottom of the oil painting. I decided to paint the sides of the canvas frame as well.

I included a photo so you can compare my painting to the photograph. The oil painting is close to completion.

The photograph used was taken by Dr. Dick Beamish from his home. How cool is that?

I plan to custom make a wooden floating frame for the painting. I would love to use recycled ship wood from the actual W. E. Ricker ship or another ship, but I know obtaining it will be a challenge.

Please let me know if anyone has access to wooden planks from a ship.

Otherwise, I will use wood that ships use to frame this significant painting.

The story of the ‘W. E. Ricker’ continues…

Until next time, stay well!


Monday, February 8th, 2:21 – 2:41 pm

I finished the second application of waves on the bottom edge of the painting.

Saturday, February 13th, 2:17 – 3:33 pm

I added white paint to the ship hull’s lettering and worked on different parts of the upper deck areas. Now the painting of the W. E. Ricker is complete for signing. Then I took a photo of it. I will let it dry for signing.

Wednesday, February 17th

I set up a meeting to meet Dick Beamish to deliver some wool dress socks he purchased from me. I also wanted to show him the unsigned painting and catch up over a meeting at the Drip Coffee shop across from Departure Bay, Nanaimo. We can see the Biological Station from where we plan to meet. How appropriate is that!

Saturday, February 20th, 10 – 11 pm

I met Dick for a coffee to show him the painting of the W. E. Ricker and asked him for his feedback.

He was impressed and enjoyed the fine details, and said I captured the ship well. However, there was a section of the ship that needed to be adjusted and repainted.  He asked if I was open to suggestions.

I responded that I appreciated his opinion because he knew the ship, and it was important the painting correctly depicted the ship.

He said the stern portion needed correcting. Under a closer look compared to the photo, I painted the stern of the ship too square.

I said I would find an image with more detail of the stern area, and I asked Dick for detailed photos of the port view.

I did find a detailed photo from the starboard perspective that gives me the information I need to complete the stern area of the ship, thanks to Tyler Zubkowski.

Here I thought I was done and was going to sign the painting. It was a good thing I waited for Dick’s feedback.

Saturday, February 28th, 1:11 – 2:43 pm

I worked on the stern area from my detailed close-up image and also compared this view with the original photo.

After, I worked on the other areas of the ship with red, white, and black touch-ups. I also worked on the waves near the ship and added light highlights in the front. I took a photo of the progress of the oil painting.

Saturday, March 5th, 6:10 – 6:34 pm

With special thanks to Tyler Zubkowski, I was able to get a great close-up image of the port side of the ship that clearly showed the correct details of the stern of the W. E. Ricker.

I now can confidently complete the stern area correctly!

After approximately thirty-two hours and thirteen minutes at 6:34 pm, I finally signed the painting.

Friday, March 5th, 6:52 pm

I emailed both Dick and Eric Ricker that I had just signed the painting and asked them for their idea for the title of the oil painting.

Dick responded later that day at 8:12 pm that he thought that an appropriate name would be, The W. E. Ricker Begins Another Expedition. Eric also agreed with this name. So the painting will be formally entitled, The W. E. Ricker Begins Another Expedition!

To make this painting more special, I would love to create a floating frame for it. The frame design will come from wood planks from the retired CCGS W. E. Ricker stored in the CCG port facility at 9860 West Saanich, Sidney, BC.

I asked for help from Ed Wright, CCG – Deputy Superintendent Marine Engineering of the Canadian Coast Guard and got a response from him on March 17th, – St. Patrick’s Day. That was a bit of a coincidence as it was also the day my father, Randy Rickwood, passed away in 2008. It was also like a sign. I felt like this was a special day, and I was excited to know I would receive wood planks from the CCGS W. E. Ricker. How special is that!

On Friday, March 19th, I drove done to the CCG Sidney port facility and picked up seven of the ship’s 3” wide by ¾” deck planks in the following lengths: 6’ 1”, 4’ 6”, 3’ 4”, 3’ 5”, 3’ 9’, 4’ 2” and 4’.

When I returned home, I called Dick and mentioned I got the wood planks to frame the painting and the giclee art canvas prints for fundraising purposes. We both agreed we needed a cause to support, and that Dick would come up with a plan.

He asked me to give him about a week to do so.

Sunday, March 28th

I emailed Dick at 11:09 am to see if he decided on a cause to support from print sales of the painting. He replied soon after at 12:11 pm and recommended that all art print sales profits go to the W. E Ricker Scholarship Memorial Fund at the Vancouver Island University, set up in memory of Bill Ricker’s family.

I called him back and agreed on whole-heartily with his choice. He said to begin setting up the scholarship fund, I had to phone Eric Ricker.

I called Eric about this, and he said he was happy to be involved in this memorial fund.

Not only were we able to create an opportunity to contribute to the W. E Ricker Scholarship Memorial Fund, but we were also able to offer Mark Frisson, the recipient of this year’s scholarship award, the first giclee print of the painting.

Special thanks to both Dr. Duane Barker and Dan Baker from the VIU Fisheries and Agriculture Department, responsible for organizing the annual Fisheries and Agriculture Awards Ceremony. Dr. Duane Barker will be the Master of Ceremony speaker for the virtual event.

Wednesday, April 14th, 6 pm – 7:30 pm

The W. E Ricker Scholarship Memorial Fund event occurred via a virtual zoom awards event. Dr. Duane Barker had the opportunity to show the painting and say a few words about what inspired me to do the oil painting and its story. Then, Mark Frisson, recipient of the W. E Ricker Scholarship Memorial Fund, had a chance to receive his award.

This virtual event was the last of twenty-five awards handed out during the special science awards evening.

From one wood plank from the CCGS W. E Ricker, I made a 1.5” wide floating frame for the The W. E, Ricker Begins Another Expedition. On Monday, April 26th, 2021, I emailed an image of the specially framed painting.

Dr. Dick Beamish was busy being involved in salmon and an international fisheries and oceans conference until mid-May. After this time, we will discuss plans for the painting and its prints.

So, The W. E. Ricker Begins Another Expedition!

Dr. William E. Ricker

William Edwin Ricker, OC FRSC (August 11, 1908 – September 8, 2001), is an essential founder of fisheries science. He is best known for the Ricker model, which he developed in his studies of stock and recruitment in fisheries. The model can predict the number of fish that will be present in a fishery.

He also had an international standing as an entomologist and a scientific editor. He published 296 papers and books, 238 translations, and 148 scientific or literary manuscripts. His 1958 publication, “Handbook of computation for biological statistics of fish populations,” and later updates were the standard books on the subject for decades.

Derek D. Rickwood, BFA

Derek Rickwood began his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Malaspina College (Vancouver Island University) and completed his degree at the University of Victoria. He has been a commissioned oil painter since 1986.

One notable commission Derek painted was in 2019 for the Royal Canadian Navy and was titled HMCS Calgary. This commission was sentimentally important for Derek because his father, Randy, now deceased, was a military man who only created oil paintings of tall ships.

Creator of the ‘Rotarian Promotional Contemporary Art Exhibit’ in 2018, and the first creation for a new contemporary art movement founded by Derek Rickwood, called, ‘Cause Art Plus’. This program is a global movement involving artists to create art to support causes that positively affect the planet.

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