|Notes from the Woods|
March 5, 2003
We are back in the Blaeberry after a month of travelling – crossing the country by train and visiting friends and family in Quebec and Ontario. Days spent at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Beaux Arts in Montreal, and the National Gallery in Ottawa were intensive, stimulating, and exhausting all at once. It is uttermost joy to sit enveloped in the radiant spirit and to feel the rejuvenation and affirmation which can take place in the presence of a painting by a gifted artist. Since I choose to be uplifted and renewed by creative works, I spend little time with works which depress and/or irritate as is the case with some contemporary conceptual pieces. While recognizing the validity of the explorations, they seem insignificant in comparison to pieces which feed the soul.
Although the gallery visits were a planned focal point, the cross-Canada train trip on VIA turned out to be an equal highlight. Living in B.C., but having grown up in Ontario, Ralph and I early on made many cross country trips by train to visit family. We found it an ideal way to travel with children. However it had been some years since our last trip on the rails what with train cutbacks resulting in the train no longer stopping at our local town of Golden. With mixed anticipation and some trepidation we took the bus to Edmonton and boarded the VIA coach there. Any doubts were quickly laid to rest. This is the most relaxed and enjoyable way to experience Canada. In limbo between here and there. Comfortable surroundings, friendly atmosphere, one has the choice of meeting and conversing with an eclectic mix of interesting people or quietly sitting and watching the varied landscape that is Canada flow by.
My favorite image—northern Ontario around Sioux Lookout. I sat in the dome car and dreamily watched the frozen boreal forest slip past. Sunshine sparkled on pristine snow. About fifty feet from the passing train the sun’s rays beamed into an open clearing. Basking in that glorious warmth a red fox lay curled in a nest of snow.
We are already planning our next train experience!!
I am pleased that the interest shown in the Giclee Prints this summer has translated into more local sales. This is promising for the future as people become accustomed to on-line buying.
"Have you had a cheque from this person before?"
I watched the bank teller carefully scrutinize the overwritten and initialized amount on the sizeable cheque before her. I had been anticipating some such reaction. "He paid by cheque for a previous painting. He's a lawyer--I'm sure it is good."
With a slow smile the teller slapped the stamp to the back of the cheque and proceeded to update my account.
I had been painting in the studio the Sunday before when Ralph came in from outside calling: "We have company!" A couple we had first met and who had bought a painting during my August Open Studio had come back to pick out a Christmas present for his mother. The studio walls were presently stripped of everything except works in progress, so I brought out slide and photograph portfolios to view. A painting that had not been in the summer show caught his wife's attention. We finally located it from a box of unframed works on paper and loosely inserted it into a mat for viewing. He indicated that he wanted one with more color for his mother. They picked two other pieces, still framed from the summer show, and all three were taken to the front deck to view in better light. Ralph and I came inside. When the couple returned, a decision had been made. "Green Pond Reflections" was to be bought for his wife. They each favored a different painting for the mother. We suggested they take both and let his mother make the final decision.
The unmatted painting was re-framed under the dim light of the studio skylight--the last screws put in place by touch. I have literally done this enough to manage in the dark! All finished, and we turned the light on for a few minutes to verify the result. Big sigh of relief--Beautiful!
And no clumps of dust under the glass! They would pay for two paintings and the third could be returned at a later date. In the high spirits and excitement of sales and packaging, I forgot the PST until after he had written the cheque. Hence this much overwritten and slightly questionable cheque just deposited by the teller.
"This Land is