The Art Room

29 01 2012

 The Art Room is an unexpected space, carved out of a back corner in the Portico timber framing shop.   You can brave the carpenters, the sawdust and the shrill screech of the shop machines to get to it, but I highly recommend you go around and approach it from outside, from the garden.   Pick up the old cobblestone and brick path that runs between the wood-fired pizzeria on your right, and the clay pot men standing guard on your left.   It will lead you right up to a cheerful, bright red shop with white wooden letters that spell out THE ART ROOM.   Please come in.

Welcome to my Dorset (Ontario) studio and art gallery.  It’s an inviting place with a pine floor and warm white walls above pine wainscoting.  A bulging antique wardrobe hides unsuccessfully in one corner, a tall splattered easel and table possessively hog the corner next to the windows, while an old Duncan Fife sags under stacks of books, flowers, cards and a full pot of tea, right smack in the middle of the room.  That’s about it.  Oh, there’s Grandma’s creaky settee, and matching chair, too.  Please, won’t you sit down?  What do you take in your tea?

It is in this simple, 18 x 14 ft rectangle that you will likely find me, these days, behind my easel.  I am a painter: middle-aged, petite with thick glasses and schizophrenic hair.  For me, the light-filled Art Room is the perfect place to work during the winter.  North-facing windows look out onto my garden, now under snow, and beyond to the community garden boxes, and beyond that, to the majestic forest. (Please ignore the ugly storage units and the chain-link fence that are also there.)  Crowning the visual feast looms old Tower Hill with its historic Lookout Tower perched on top like a maraschino cherry.

Every morning, before I paint, I inhale the beautiful scene outside my studio windows.  The French Impressionist painter, Monet, painted the hourly changes of light on the cathedral facade in Rouen.  Even those famous paintings can’t compare to the nuances of light and the staggering changes of mood that sweep across Tower Hill from day to day, hour to hour.

This winter I am devoting my time to painting. The walls of my art room are dancing with the bold, colourful acrylics, oils and monoprints of Muskoka and Haliburton landscapes, Ontario townscapes,  interiors, still-life and a few portraits.  I’m getting ready for your visit this spring or summer.  In the meantime, you can hear about what is going on in The Art Room, through this blog and my website (   I will be posting on my blog once a week on Wednesday mornings.  Tea will be steeping in the pot.  Until then, have a great week, and as my friend Wayne says on his answering machine, “Make it count!”