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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter's Frost

Every painting I paint has a story.  From the moment I make the decision to paint, to the day it finds it's permanent home, the story unfolds. "Winter's Frost" has been one of those paintings that has drawn attention to itself  and seems to want to write it's own story. 

I took the original reference photo of this painting in January of 2009.  I had recently learned that I won the 2008 Honorable Mention Award for the Gamblin Torrit Grey Competition for my painting "Boats at Portsoy" and I was excited to put another entry into the 2009 contest.  I had been thinking about what type of painting I should do. 

On the day  I took the reference photo for this painting I was driving along Bishop Street in St. Albert.  Bishop Street is in an older part of the city; it has beautiful big trees lining the boulevards and mature trees in the yards; it's a street with a lot of character. It was cold and frosty outside and the trees were dripping with hoarfrost; the street and sidewalk were still covered with snow.  It was a grey day with very little colour; but it struck me that the street scene might make a good entry.  I got out of my car, stood on the public side walk and took a few photos.  When I got home I was happy with what turned out and I proceeded to start my painting. 

It was fun to paint the trees, the snow and the person walking down the street, but when I finished the painting in May 2009 I wasn't sure it had turned out the way I wanted it to.....I'm not really sure what the even was.  I hung the painting up to dry; I decided to forgo the contest for that year and went on to other paintings.  I posted it on my blog and facebook and was completely surprised by the response I received.  Some people started telling it was their favorite painting of mine, I had comments like: It was beautiful; I love it!;  Everyone should live on a street just like that!; I could spend hours there; I feel so calm when I look at it; etc, etc.  A couple people seemed interested in buying it, but nothing happened and as an artist, I am discovering that patience is a true virtue.  What all these comments told me though, was that I had a good painting; that really helped me to see what other people were seeing. 

In February of 2010 we had some repairs done to our house and we had a few work men and women in and out for a few weeks.  One of the work men's name was Andy and he was originally from Scotland.  We struck up a conversation one day about various things including Scotland. I don't know why, but I thought that Andy might have heard of Portsoy, Scotland and I decided to show him my painting "Boats at Portsoy".  Although, he liked the painting he had never heard of Portsoy and we carried on our conversation.  At one point we starting talking about St. Albert and he happened to share that he lived in a subdivision called Braeside.  My family also had lived in that subdivision for a year, so I asked him what street he lived on.  He told me he lived on Bishop Street. I told him that I painted a picture of Bishop Street (Winter's Frost) and I went and got the painting.  When he looked at the painting he had a strange look on his face; I thought maybe he didn't like the painting, but when I looked at him for a couple minutes I realized he looked shocked!  He looked at me and told me that I was standing in his driveway!!  We all thought that was pretty funny and joked about it for a few minutes.  At lunch time he took one of his co-workers over to his house to show her where I was standing when I took the photo reference.  Andy seemed a little shaken up by all of this and I thought it was pretty amazing....what were the chances of something like this happening??  

This all happened on the last day the workers needed to be at the house; so once they left I figured I would probably not see any of the them, including Andy, again.  And life carried on.

In August 2010 my husband and I were invited to go on a river boat ride with a friend from work, Allen and his wife Dianne and their two girls.  It was a great night for a ride down the river and a good night for taking some photos and spending time with this lovely family.  Dianne and I were sitting in the back of the boat and as we were admiring the scenery and shouting to each other over the roar of the motor, she told me that she wanted to buy "Winter's Frost" for Allen for Christmas.  I was really pleased to hear this and I agreed to keep the painting at my house until close to Christmas.  I was really excited to tell my husband the good news on the ride home.

When we got home that night there was a message on my answering machine.  It was from Andy!  It was a surprise to hear his unmistakable Scottish accent.  I called him back and he asked me if my painting of Bishop Street was still for sale.  I told him unfortunately it wasn't and he seemed quite disappointed, but I told him I could sell him a limited edition giclee of it.  He said it was for his neighbour and took the limited edition information to share with him.  But before we hung up he told me that the day he was at my house and saw the painting, that incident was the most bizarre thing that had ever happened to him.  He said it gave him goosebumps.  Again, I thought that that was quite amazing, but I had to tell him a little bit more........I told him, ....well..........if you think that's bizarre.........I just sold the painting........a half hour ago!!!

Original Oil 22" x 28"
Limited Edition Giclees available (signed and numbered)
22" x 28" framed (white liner, black frame) 
9" x 11 1/2" framed (white liner, black frame) 

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