Monday, June 11, 2012

Sharing Parts of My Journey... and Painting With David Kay

David Kay and his wife Diane arrived on Wednesday evening for a three day stay which led to some great meals... catching up on life on both sides... and some fruitful painting on Thursday and Friday by David and I both. This was their first visit to the Thousand Island regions and Rockport - and won't be their last for certain. They both realize now... why Deb and I are so joyful and excited about being here!

The Islands captivate the eye and the imagination... even after a single visit, but for those of us blessed to have spent our youth in these parts it is it is being smitten forever to find your way back to "Home"... just as salmon in the wild do. One must go out into the world to find one's Self and a living... but it becomes necessary buy whatever means to try to return... to complete one's life... full circle... and "I" have!

The middle painting that we created... mine a wee 8x10 inch canvas depicts the "John Caiger Homestead" , overlooking the St Lawrence River on Narrow's Lane Road. This special place was our family's introduction to what would become a fifty plus year summer residency at our own cottage two years after this first experience. David painted it on a  16x20 inch panel ... as he does... "as is"... in the present tense, while I painted it smallish and simplified to represent my memory of that first meeting of my mind and this special place. I wanted it to be simple... "painterly" and  unmannered... unchanged... just as I remember it. That is the value of the truly creative mind. Reality "is"... what you imagine it to be!

The first painting is a painting that I have wanted to sink my teeth into for such a long time, but I was either coming or going and just never had the time to really find a time to paint it. I suggested it to David and with him aboard on the idea we set to work at 10:30 am... both using 16x20 inch formats. We were just about to finish the lay in part of the process when a very tall younger man strode up to us from his Tundra truck and immediately struck up an interesting conversation. He mentioned (casually) that he owned the island and was interested to see what we were painting. He was really enthusiastic about both versions and invited us to cross the bridge and come over for a visit and drink. Bonus!

After finishing lunch... and the painting (in that order) we made our way over the bridge to this amazing place. He welcomed us in and immediately set to showing us all through the interior rooms  and decks. The interior matched the exterior in beauty and craftsmanship. It was akin to something out of Better Homes and Gardens... or more appropriately... those magnificent historic homes and cottages which The Islander and Thousand Island Life magazines feature monthly. It was grand... yet very simply organized and well designed... not at all pretentious or audacious in tone. It simply... felt comfortable... with a sense of "Home."

Sitting with Fred Guild having a drink revealed some information which connected "He" and "I"... some forty years ago. I had taught a grade five-six split in Front of Yonge Elementary School for a year before finally accepting a position in Kingston where I remained until my retirement from formal teaching. I remembered he and his twin brother Lawrence as participants in my phys-ed house leagues as kindly... shy but spirited youngsters... eager to please!

It was a time when I was in the midst of a darker moment in my early life when my wife at the time and I separated and divorced. I decided to move to Toronto area to gain some perspective. I had my much difficulty in accepting the change in being able to see my young daughter Lisa and my dog Brutus, a black Labrador Retriever daily. I visited every other weekend to have consistent connection to Lisa, but I knew that it would be impossible and unfair to the dog to bring him to the city. I put out feelers to try and find a suitable person who would care for Brutus as I had.

It turned out that the Guild lads and their family agreed to accept him as their own on their spacious property. The final image of leaving Brutus... with him trying to get loose to come with me... very much saddened and disturbed me for months. To this day... I have not owned another dog... and doubt that I ever can. The upside of this sad story , is that Brutus lived with the lads to the ripe old and very loved age of fourteen and they much loved each other!

Some would call these events serendipity... I choose to believe that The Universe  continues tocreate opportunities for each of us in our lives. Lately... it has provided us with a bounty of these blessings... rapid fire!

The last painting was created on the morning of David and Diane's departure back  to Whitney. I took David to this quiet garden setting... which I knew would yield a good solid composition and challenge. David completed a 16x20 version... while I finished this 12x16 study on panel. I have given it  an obvious title: "Rockport... In Bloom". we completed our paintings and were back in our home in time to share a hearty send off breakfast consisting of  ham... eggs... orange juice... toast and coffee.

It was a wonderful pleasure to share our Islesview home with these good friends... and to introduce them to the beauty... and painting possibilities of these beautiful Thousand Islands. IT was remarkable that together... we might travel back in time to revisit familiar places... and faces from my part!

"I"... am deeply blessed!

 "The John Caiger Homestead, Narrow's Lane Road"- oil on canvas 8x10 inches

" Fred Guild's Island Grandeur" oil on canvas 16x20 inches

"Rockport in Bloom" - oil on panel 12x16 inches

Good Painting to ALL!!!


  1. Bruce, you make me want to live in Rockport myself. I was so touched by your story of Fred Guild and your ties to each other. What a blessing that he brought you in telling you of the happy life Brutus shared with his family...

    Each of the paintings is so darned beautiful! Each one is exquisite! Something about that middle one...keeps drawing me back for another look.

  2. Good Morning Sherry!... You're "first in through the door"... to comment again!

    It is a privilege to be able to share experiences and events... past and present from my journey with all of my blogger Friends!Conversely.. it is a joy to hear of their life as well. a "conversation" of sorts... between two distant minds!

    It was indeed a blessing... and moment of closure for "Me" in regards to an event which I have for too long carried with me in my journey. Shame... especially that which is self-imposed is such a destructive force. It was indeed a gift from Fred for which I am very much grateful. I can move on... I think!

    Glad that the paintings please you. Perhaps it is the combination of the story and the painting which creates the sway in your preference. It is... for "Me"!!!

    Thanks for dropping by and for your enthusiasm about my post! More to come!

    Stay tuned!...

    Good painting and Happy Summer Sherry!
    Warmest regards,

  3. There's a beautiful clear light to all three of these. Glad you had so much fun with your painting buddy. Best wishes.

  4. Hi there Lisa!... Thanks for the lovely and encouraging comment on these new paintings!

    The light here ... for the most part has been very clear... though fog and mist does creep in some mornings... and I love that!

    It's always wonderful to have the opportunity to share time with kindred spirits... who think and feel the same about life and art! Life is good!

    Thanks for taking the time to visit! Good luck with your summer exhibitions!

    Warmest regards,

  5. Good evening Bruce, that island house looks an interesting and unusual place. Living there must feel like being on the river; something which your painting conveys beautifully.

    I have an interesting twist on the story about Brutus. We were looking for a dog after we had lost our previous two, both at a very old age. We heard about some people in the town who were looking for a new home for a Cocker Spaniel. They couldn't really give him the time or space that he needed. I was concerned that he would pine for his old home, but there wasn't any problem and he settled in well. Bernie is now enjoying daily walks, as well as longer adventures in the hills, and he is a very happy dog.

    I don't know how I would find the strength to do what you had to do, but I'm glad it turned out for the best in the end.

    All the best,

  6. Hi Bruce,
    Finally made my way over to your blog,to find a wonderful story and outstanding art work.
    So happy that you and Deb enjoyed your friends. It is indeed a small world, to find out that Brutus had wonderful life with the brothers that were students of yours. Your courage in leaving Brutus, your are truly an amazing individual.

    Now for Deb, here stained glass art is as
    lovely as she.

    Yes Bruce, you and Deb are truly blessed.

    All the best to you both,

  7. Good evening Keith!... Thanks for stopping by and for your response to the words and images in this post!

    Words are inadequate to describe Fred's Island house Keith. Every room has at least a two vista view of the River from the top lofted areas... while the main floor open concept area has a complete 360 degree of views- SPECTACULAR is a good word... and so is breat-taking!

    The Brutus "revelation" was a kind and unexpected gift from the Universe for which I am grateful... beyond words as well!

    Sometimes we have to set aside personal loss to accommodate what is best for the people and creatures that we love. I knew that it would be best for Brutus... and I was right to share him with those who could afford him the space and freedom which he needed and loved!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  8. Good evening Joan!... Glad that you could drop by... and that you enjoyed the contents of the post!

    More things have occurred even since the writing of this post which connect Past and Present events in my life in an strange and inexplicable way. The Universe is indeed mysterious!

    David and Diane were over the moon when they saw Deb's window! Can't wait to see the two.."in situe" in Whitney! It is always such a lift when one's commissions hit the mark for clients. My three recent painting commissions were received in much the same fashion! Onward!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  9. Wow! Bruce!! What an enjoyable post! I love that you share your stories with us! These three paintings are so beautiful. Rockport in Bloom is gorgeous! Enjoy your day.

  10. Hi again Hilda!... Thanks for your positive comments and enthusiasm... it makes the blogging so worthwhile to know that others value one's efforts!

    You said it! Rockport... in bloom... in every corner... is so beautiful and inspiring! It's a great privilege and blessing to live here!

    Good Pastel-ling!
    Warmest regards,