The Artists

The telling of the Colorano story would be incomplete without including information about the seven artists who created the original paintings.

Ray Novak, engaged a number of very talented and competent artists to create paintings for the Colorano Silk Cachets operations. Seven artists, some of whom were professional illustrators, created paintings for the Canadian operations. Where available, photographs of the artists are shown. Resumes of the artists are also shown together with samples of their original paintings and corresponding F.D.C.’s.

The purpose of this section is to pay tribute to the Colorano artists by showing examples of their work. The contents of the Colorano Silks Cachets are taken from original paintings by artists hired by Colorano and from available pictures. Unfortunately, the viewer will not be able to fully enjoy the spectacular results of Colorano’s miniaturizing and colouring processes from painting to cachet. One needs to see the original and view the cachet from different angles to get the full luminous and almost 3 D effects.

All the paintings are done in watercolour. The painting for the Peace Bridge F.D.C. is a collage of watercolour and other materials. The paintings were done on heavy duty cardboards of varying size and qualities, presumably at each artist's discretion. The actual sizes of each painting is provided with the image.

Arthur Novak

 Arthur Novak, Ray’s elder brother (now deceased) painted the portrait of the Bishop of Quebec for the first Canadian Commemorative F.D.C. issued by Colorano and also did the painting of the P.E.I. seaside.

Ray Novak writes…..

“Arthur, my brother, graduated from the Pratt Institute of Art and Design in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking advantage of the G.I. Bill. Arthur ….took me to see the Brooklyn  Dodgers at Ebbets Field on many occasions. He introduced  me to music – opera….. New York Musicals lessons. He had a very good operatic voice. He liked to cook and did quite well. We were all a bit on the heavy side.

Arthur served in the Air Force as a Radio Operator and left the Service with a medical discharge. He contracted malaria too often after serving in New Guinea in the Pacific and came back from the Admiralty Islands on a medical ship. I believe it was 1944.

Arthur … really helped me get started with Colorano. He did most of the art work of the first Colorano issues of 1971, 1972 and 1973. Without him, I could never have put Colorano on the map…..” (May 31, 2008.)


Bishop of Quebec. Scott Catalogue #611. Actual size - 8" x 9 1/2". This is the first Canadian FDC issued by Colorano.


Tom Dunne

Tom Dunne writes…..

Tom Dunne was born in Queens, New York and spent the first four decades of his life on the North Shore of Long Island. He attended Pratt University and studied traditional drawing and oil painting with Harold Stevenson (one of a handful of Norman Rockwell’s students) and Alma Galanos. Besides working with  Colorano First Day Covers since the mid-seventies, he has had a career in advertising and editorial design illustration, clients including CBS, Sony, IBM, Time, American Scientist, and Muse magazines.

Tom has lived in the Durham, North Carolina area since the early nineties, where he continues his work as a freelance illustrator as well as teaching and selling his fine art”. (November 26, 2007.)

Mike Bossy. Scott Catalogue #1444. Actual size - 6 1/4" x 7 3/4".


Chris Dunne

Chris Dunne, Tom’s brother, did some paintings for Colorano in the mid-seventies. Like his brother, he was a very competent painter and did some very meticulous  work. Since then, he has had a varied career in the entertainment field ranging from actor  to script writer to director  (his one film which he scripted and directed in 1999 is an adaptation of Titus Andronicus by William  Shakespeare). More recently, he is billed as a Sea Chanteyman and presents live performances of traditional nautical-themed ballads humorous maritime songs and classic sea chanteys.

He continues to dabble in art, painting and wood-carving props, etc., for his entertainment work. He also engages in some art  teaching activities. (February 2, 2009.)

Canadair CL-41 Tutor Aircraft. Scott Catalogue #903. Actual size - 7 1/2" x 6".



Ray Novak writes…

“While at Cape Canaveral in Florida I met an Italian stamp dealer who was trying to buy stamps. He couldn’t get it across  to the clerk exactly what he wanted. With the little Italian that I speak I  was able to help the dealer, Luciano Fraschetty, who was in Florida for the same reason I was - the Apollo moon landing shot. We became friends immediately and of course we had our translator with us, my wife Jennie who speaks fluent Italian. Luciano was also a first day/event cover dealer in Italy and his  art work was fabulous.

Over the course of time I asked Luciano if he could allow Tenzi  to do some of my art work for the space covers I produced. He  had no objections. Tenzi painted many of my space issues but only the one for the Canadian issues. I was told by Luciano that Tenzi worked as a prison guard in Italy. His space art was exceptional…..”. (November 22, 2007.)

Marconi. Scott Catalogue #654. Actual size - 5 3/4" x 8".


Harrison Gillette

Ray Novak writes…..

“Harrison Gillette lived in Gatesville, Texas and was a retired postal worker. Art was his hobby. He wrote to me back around 1974 and sent several paintings for me to look at. A friend of his suggested that he do this. I liked what I saw and the rest is history. Harrison did a thorough research job on all the paintings he did for Colorano. … Many Colorano collectors found his work  to be exceptional.

He worked for me for many years and was getting on in age when he stopped …in 1994. I believe he died a few years later. His family no longer lives in Gatesville……”. (January 19, 2004 & October 18, 2008.)


Quebec Folk Song - "Les Raftsmans". Scott Catalogue #1492. Actual size - 6" x 7 5/8".


Lawrence Finney

Ray Novak writes…..

“Lawrence Finney was a young black  man who worked with another black artist, Mal Cann (see below). He did most of his work for the  U.S.  cachets. He started working for me when he was 17 years old.

He was a fabulous artist and did really tight work. As he got older and more experienced he left me for more lucrative work. I know that he became a very fine illustrator”. (June 29, 2007.)

This is the only painting Lawrence Finney did for a Canadian cachet. As Ray Novak indicated, Finney developed into an accomplished artist and enjoys a highly regarded reputation in Afro-American art circles.

 Terry Fox. Scott Catalogue#915. Actual size - 5 1/2" x 7 1/4".

Ray Novak advises that this is the only painting done by Dave Finney for a Canadian Silk.


Mal Cann

Ray Novak writes…..

“ Mal Cann was a black artist  from New York. While doing some thirty paintings for me, he also taught Lawrence Finney (see above). Some of these thirty paintings were a combined effort of both Mal and Lawrence. I haven’t heard from Mal  and am not sure if he is  still active……”. (August 17, 2008.)

The Jacket Flap web site records the following biographical details ……

“Mal Cann is a published illustrator of children’s books. A published credit of Mal Cann is My Favorite Toy.”- (Google, April 2009).

Peace Bridge. Scott Catalogue #737. Actual size - 6" x 7 3/8".


This painting is a collage of watercolours and other materials.