From Rembrandt to Sharon, Lois & Bram, Regina family recreates paintings and album covers

·2 min read
Gail, Hannah and Darrel Lawlor spent part of the pandemic recreating album covers and old paintings. Here, they pose with balloons as part of a recreation of a Sharon, Lois & Bram album. (Submitted by Darrel Lawlor  - image credit)
Gail, Hannah and Darrel Lawlor spent part of the pandemic recreating album covers and old paintings. Here, they pose with balloons as part of a recreation of a Sharon, Lois & Bram album. (Submitted by Darrel Lawlor - image credit)

While some have spent the pandemic bingeing on Netflix, learning to make sourdough bread or sharpening their green thumb, the Lawlor family has spent it blowing up balloons, hauling a giant stuffed frog into their home and being judged by fine art critics from around the world.

It's all part of a contest the Regina family — husband Darrel, his wife Gail and their daughter Hannah — started with other members of their family from across the country. In the first round, each family had to research and select a few famous paintings, which they would then recreate themselves.

The results did not disappoint.

Darrel chose to recreate Belgian painter Jan Van Eyck's Portrait of a Man in a Turban.

"It turned out pretty creepy, actually," he told CBC's The Afternoon Edition. "I kind of looked like the guy."

Darrel Lawlor recreates Belgian painter Jan Van Eyck's painting Portrait of a Man in a Turban.
Darrel Lawlor recreates Belgian painter Jan Van Eyck's painting Portrait of a Man in a Turban.(Submitted by Darrel Lawlor)

Other recreations included Frida Kahlo's 1941 painting Me and My Parrots — featuring stuffed animals and a fake cigarette — and Rembrandt's Stone Operation.

The Lawlors won in almost every category — which were judged by fine art professionals from Europe and Australia.

Gail Lawlor as Frida Kahlo in the self-portrait titled Me and My Parrots.
Gail Lawlor as Frida Kahlo in the self-portrait titled Me and My Parrots.(Submitted by Darrel Lawlor )

All out for album covers

In the competition's second round, the families were tasked with recreating album covers.

The Lawlors decided on Sharon, Lois & Bram's 1996 album "Elephant Party" for the group recreation. The cover features a large stuffed elephant and balloons.

"There aren't many giant elephants around," said Darrel. "Our neighbour had a giant frog, so we propped that up."

Hannah made bow ties out of construction paper to match the ones the trio wore on the original cover, and Darrel went so far as to grow a beard to match Bram Morrison's facial hair.

The Lawlor family comes together to recreate Rembrandt's Stone Operation.
The Lawlor family comes together to recreate Rembrandt's Stone Operation.(Submitted by Darrel Lawlor )

The family also recreated album covers featuring Nana Mouskouri, Tears for Fears and Moby — taking top prize, once again, for their work.

Gail Lawlor stands in for Nana Mouskouri in this recreated album cover.
Gail Lawlor stands in for Nana Mouskouri in this recreated album cover.(Submitted by Darrel Lawlor)

All in a day's work

Most of the costumes and props came from items around the Lawlor's house.

"It was a lot of improvisation," said Darrel. "If we got the general idea, that's what we were going for."

Darrel said the family not only learned the art of recreation but also the art of cooperation, especially when Hannah would insist that her parents just weren't getting it quite right.

"It's a bit like a bonding thing," said Darrel. "It wasn't all happy and light — there was a bit of arguing — but it was still a lot of fun at the end."