Painting on historical slate
Canoe lake in summer
approx 11"x16" oil on slate
I have had many opportunities to paint on many different surfaces. Most i turn down on account of it being a bit tacky, or very tacky. For example, I simply will not paint on a mug or plate, etc, etc.
This week I was presented a surface like non other. A contractor/client/friend working on a 110+ year old Rosedale, Toronto home, presented me with two well worn slate shingles from the old house roof. Some are in the process of being replaced. He suggested I might like to render a painting on them. I have to admit that my first reaction was to shrug it off, but the more I thought about it the more the idea appealed to me.
Here was two pieces of old Toronto from the turn of the century. From an area of the city populated with the most stately of old Toronto homes. The saying goes, "if these stones could talk, the stories they'd tell". That is the sentiment I am enjoying as I painted this first one.
1890 to 1910 is the era from which these roofing shingles come from and if my math is correct, this was about the time when the one and only Tom Thompson, and other members of the Group of seven would have been getting together at the Arts and Letters Club between trips up north by train and by canoe. So here in my hands are materials which would have been on the roof of one of the stately old homes that Tom Thompson, A.J. Casson, Lawren Harris and others very likely would have passed by on their travels up Yonge Street through the Rosedale area.
I will not have many of these shingles, perhaps four or five more. I will certainly keep a few of them, after painted, in my private collection. But some, like this one shown here are available for sale. Please contact me should you have an interest in collecting this piece of Toronto history.
I have a friend. A really good friend. You know, friends come and go but the really good friends are the ones who even though they are out of the picture you still know deep in your heart that they will surface again, or that you can call them and they will take your call. I have just such a friend. Her name is Holly. Holly is married to Roy. He's a good friend as well. You see, a little over a year ago I was visited by Holly, who travelled all the way out here to Whitby from her cozy home in mid town Toronto just to see my little paintings. She did purchase one after all but the visit was the beginning of a long and healthy friendship that has been rich in many ways.
This past summer (summer of 2011) Holly and Roy invited this artist to spend a few days with them in their cottage on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. While there we paddled together, walked together, talked together and shared our mutually strong love for this small body of water known to all as Canoe Lake.
The heritage of the lake is quite unique from most others. You can read about that in a great book by Roy McGregor: http://www.amazon.ca/Canoe-Lake-Roy-MacGregor/dp/0771054602My connection to it comes from my understood appreciation for the works or the Group of Seven and Tom Thompson. Even without the prior knowledge of the Groups work at Algonquin and Tom Thompson's connection, I fell in love with it from years before when driving, hiking and moderate paddling around the "tourist" routes. Being there with Holly as my guide provided an in depth look and understanding into the lake, it's history, Camp Ahmek and Wapomeo, etc. Then, with all of that in mind you get a deeper and greater sense of the lake when you are sitting watching the sun go down on the water over the horizon on the far shore. The light burns through the tree tops and glitters on the water. No big boats on this water, just small ones and canoes. It's depth is awe inspiring! It's darkness holds secrets of many a lives lived and passed on here on the lake. The secrets of Tom Thompson's death which will never be known for certain lie within the shoreline of this great body of water. The art of one of Canada's greatest artists ended with the waters of Canoe Lake. The beginnings of so many other lives took root here along these wooded shores. And now it has it's grip on me. "An October Evening"
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.