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!
Good Painting to ALL!!!