Ottawa Rock Art

Ottawa rock art starts with the Ottawa River at Remic Rapids just West of Ottawa. Couple the river with the River Bed Artist and you get Ottawa rock art in the Ottawa River.

I have lived in and around Ottawa for decades, and for decades, Jean-Felice Ceprano has been transforming a section of the Ottawa River right near downtown Ottawa, into a gallery of extraordinary rock art. Art that I and my family had never yet seen.

Have you seen the River-Bed-Artist at work?

Jean-Felice-Ceprano on


What River Bed Artist Does

Almost every year since 1986, late in every spring after the Ottawa River level drops, Jean-Felice transforms the 400 million year old limestone rock from the Ottawa River bed into a whimsical, varied and thoroughly entertaining gallery of balanced art.

river bed artist -

Finely Balanced

No glue, no mechanical connection, simply (as if turning rock into this beautiful array could be simple) eyeing each piece, and using small chips as shims, Jean-Felice creates beautiful and natural works of art.

Riverbed artist John Felice Ceprano -

His Fickle “Canvas”

Late in every year, when the water level rises and the late fall and grey winter winds start to blow, the wave and wind action scour his canvas clean.

Finely balanced rocks tumble, a base shifts, and one piece of art after another splits and cascades down to the bottom of the dark cold waters of the Ottawa River.

As the water level continues to rise, and winter’s ice and snow blanket the gallery, there’s little left of Mr. Ceprano’s work to be seen.

It is Renewed Each Spring

Then, each spring, starting when the river level drops to below knee-deep-wading depth, Mr. Ceprano will spend about six weeks re-creating the statue art, piece by piece, some the same as the year before (he works from his extensive photograph collection) and some new pieces of art as a different shaped stone or pleasing combination suggests a new piece to his artistic eye.

River Bed Artist Jean-Felice Ceprano's work -

His acres-large gallery of limestone works of art is born again.

Where Can You See His Rock Art?

From the Parliament Buildings, proceed West on Wellington Street until it turns into the Ottawa River Parkway.  Watch for a sharp right turn into the Remic Rapids lookout and free parking area.

Riverbed artist Jean Felice Ceprano

Lock your car, and wander East along the shore to the limestone flats. Even in winter there are vestiges of art there, though summer is the best time to visit and mingle with artists on site.

If you are interested in more information about Mr. Ceprano and his various art and media work, please visit ( ) his web site.