Stuart McLean sand sculpture wins CNE contest for P.E.I. artist

A P.E.I. artist’s tribute to one of the great voices of Canadian broadcasting took home first prize in a sand sculpting competition at the Canadian National Exhibition last week.

“I thought Stuart McLean was a perfect fit for Canada 150,” said Abe Waterman.

“He’s a great ambassador of Canadian qualities.”

The competition this year was Canadian-themed to celebrate the sesquicentennial, and Waterman was competing against three other Canadian artists.

A chance meeting

Waterman had always been a fan of McLean’s work, and became an even bigger fan when he ran into him at Toronto Airport almost 15 years ago.

Waterman had just left the customs area and was facing a 16-hour layover at Pearson. McLean was picking someone up, and asked Waterman how long the wait at customs was. Waterman recognized the voice and they got chatting.

“He ended up inviting me over to his place. I could crash at his place,” said Waterman.

“He took me out to dinner and we saw a great music show. He was just a really great guy.”

Apples to oranges

While Waterman is pleased with the win and the $3,000 prize, that’s not his focus when he enters a competition.

Abe Waterman with Stuart McLean sand sculpture

Abe Waterman poses with the sculpture and his 1st place ribbon. (Submitted by Abe Waterman)

“I try not to think about the wins. I take them as they come. Sometimes you can do the best piece and not win and sometimes you can do the worst piece and win. Judging art is apples to oranges in a lot of cases,” he said.

“At the end of the day if I can be happy with the piece I did that means the most.”

Waterman is back in competition this week at the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge in San Diego.

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