This week I have gone back into the studio in earnest in order to prepare for the McMichael Show in October (see announcement in last post). I have picked up a painting that I put aside in May before I started traveling. I found that in the intermittent times I was home, I just couldn’t mesh with with it. These old places require an emotional connection and I had disconnected during the preparations for PEI. Any time in the studio was spent doing touch-ups and repairs to paintings that had been exhibited elsewhere and needed to be ready to go to a new place.
Now that I have been home steadily for more than a week, this painting is seeping back into that deep place from where I draw my creative urge. There is often a slight bittersweet melancholy required for these old abandoned houses, not to mention a focus when rendering and painting architectural detail. I needed to get back into my “Muskoka Mind”.
I remembered my visit here in the spring. The house looks in terrible shape from a distance, however, despite having lost many of its windows, the interior was in strikingly good condition. It was as if all that was needed was a good broom and a bucket of of water in some of the rooms. There was a stillness here as if the house were merely awaiting the return of its owners. I could have sat in the drawing room with its bay windows or up on the landing (the location of this painting) and listened to the wind for hours.
I found the brightly painted doors on the second floor intriguing. The layers of wallpaper had begun to peel revealing a gold, a peachy colour and gray decorative themes. The white trim had once been stained dark and the peeling paint further revealed the many moods of the homes’ occupants over the years.
I found myself convinced that there was some little secret thing – a book or a box – hidden in this house that might have a story in it. I have been able to find out little about its actual past beyond the 1980’s, other than the fact that it has been long unoccupied and that this house was not the first on the property. So instead, I started to imagine the life of a young woman who might have once lived there in the early 1900’s. I can imagine a box of letters… A box that sat in a room just beyond the door.
I am in the middle stages of this painting and I hope with some serious hours over the next few of days, I can complete it. I don’t think I can open that door until it is finished.