What an uncommon but pleasant surprise it was yesterday to have received a copy of a marvellous acrylic painting (shown here as today’s featured image) done by a former client of mine. She is terribly shy about her artistic accomplishment. This painting is one more confirmation of my ever-burgeoning certainty of local artistic talent.
My acquaintance with local artists began 47 years ago when I arrived in Almonte. I purchased an original piece of sculpture made by Dale Dunning who lives nearby in Ramsay Township (now part of Misssissippi Mills). Thence it was Stephen Brathwaite (of nearby Pakenham Township which also joined with Mississippi MIlls in 1998) and Jill C. Halliday (Almonte resident) both of whom still reside in town. There are many other local artists with whom I am acquainted but from whom I have not had the occasion or opportunity to buy their art (people such as Sue Adams, Eileeen Hennemann, Amelia Ah You, Rosemary Leach, Kaija Savinainen and Allan Stanley). I do however follow some of their exploits which are national and international. Several of our local artists have works of art displayed in significant art galleries in Montréal including le Musée des beaux-arts on Sherbrooke St W.
When Louis de la Chesnaye Audette QC OC died, his Executor and I removed from the walls of the deceased’s Sandy Hill residence to my place in Almonte several paintings which I had unwittingly adored in his drawing room over the lip of whiskey and soda and as many years. I similarly collected other paintings from my late mother’s stockpile would included such “local” personalities as the student of an original member of the Group of Seven. There have as well been paintings made by friends or family of my immediate retail contacts in town at local art galleries. One of these paintings is a sailing ship at sea in Sweden (where my family once lived). I believe it was painted by either the curator’s sister or a female friend of the family. The curator once asked to buy back the painting for familial purposes but I declined the invitation. I have yet to decide whether I can bear its deprivation.
On one unusual occasion, I admired a large painting hanging on the wall behind a dining companion at a local restaurant. It was for sale along with numerous other paintings in the restaurant at the same time. When the server objected to my immediate removal of the painting after dinner (and naturally after having paid for it), I countered the objection by saying it was for my dining companion who was from Toronto. He needed, I said, to take it with him when he left for Toronto the next morning. It was an outright lie but I wasn’t about to disquiet myself with paranoid contemplations of spaghetti sauce flying onto the canvas! I took it with me when we excused ourselves from table. I am looking at it now. The colours are vibrant sans tomato sauce!
Forgive me for becoming entirely tedious but I feel compelled by the strength of the outstanding late afternoon view now before me as I look upriver towards the Village of Appleton to repeat the marvel of the scenery while overlooking our apartment balcony.
The additional unanticipated psychological advantage of this lovely view and the artistic sensitivities it engenders is that it rounds out with phenomenal purity and clarity what has been a lifetime devotion to local artistry. From my very modest beginnings in Almonte I hadn’t in my imagination pictured this exceedingly accommodating result. Whether it may be that local architect Peter Mansfield is the author of our domicile; or that we’re poised on high land from the river; that the hallway lights are prompted by movement; and, that facial recognition can open the front door, there is a unity about the place and what and who are in it. There ain’t no realtor who could possibly have exceeded this serendipitous transformation from start to finish. It’s a storybook endining in my opinion. There is sufficient nutrition here to keep me safely absorbed.