Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Big Ones - Part Four

THE CAVELL POND (at the foot of Mount Edith Cavell, Jasper)   oil 12" x 24"   June 19th, 1995   My collection 

Forced to work in the tiny art room at the Icefield on yet another rainy day my painter pals were all irate with cabin fever. I tuned out their bickering and created the painting above which I instantly fell madly for and still love. Not wanting to part with it, it has only ever left home once; to hang alongside the large studio piece of it as part of my retrospective show, in 1997, at The Whyte Museum, Banff.

With no large studio prospects on the horizon and itching to paint another big one, I took the legs off of the dining room table and stashed the lot under our bed. I found room for the chairs in the third bedroom, which was my small, home studio, and set up shop in the dining area of our Canmore house.

Working on THE CAVELL POND, April  17th, 1996
April 24th, 1996 the completed CAVELL POND   oil 3 x 6 feet   Collection of George Irwin, Edmonton  

With the above finished, full of ambition and good intentions, I launched into this 4 x 6 foot oil of Lake Louise ...

The living/dining room turned studio, April 29th, 1996

With summer coming on, and the pending trip to Ontario, I opted to put our home back together and the above was shelved until late in 1997.

Although this story is somewhat off topic I simply cannot resist. The family went to Toronto specifically to go to Central Technical School's annual open house and exhibition of student's work. Denise was attending the post secondary art program there and ... as I did in my time ... she had Canadian icon, Doris McCarthy, as one of her instructors. A week later we all went to Doris' for dinner. I was so proud of my family for their silence (although the look in their eyes did not escape me) when they watched to see just what I would do when the baked Spam was placed before me. I ate it. How could I not? And I washed it down with the Grand Dame's excellent, home-made dandelion wine!

My first visit to Fool's Paradise (the home Doris McCarthy built herself) May 16th, 1996  


  1. Alice, only you would dismantle a dining room in order to paint! No doubt your family dined in -30 degrees on the deck.

    Off topic it may be, but what a wonderful story! You may be the only family ever to have shared baked Spam with Doris McCarthy.

    1. Fortunately we had another table and chairs in the kitchen, so really it was no great loss. My family thought I was nuts and I suppose they still do.

      Thanks for enjoying my McCarthy story. I would never have written it while she lived but I'm sure that, from the other side, she's smiling as much as you and I!

  2. Yes, courage came knowing that she has passed! So what happened to the Lake Louise painting? -- Audrey

    1. Yes, courage after her death. RIP Doris ... and I hope you're smiling!
      Well over a year later I resumed and finished Lake Louise. In true Virgo form, I'm telling the story of the big ones in chronological order according to completion dates!