March 14, 1917
It’s getting later in the afternoon but the sun is still strong. It’s not yet the spring Equinox, but spring is certainly arriving and the winter is waning.
It was the Ontario Society of Artists Annual Meeting yesterday evening. I’m a member so I was obliged to attend. The meeting was held at the Public Reference Library in the art gallery after the Spring Exhibition had closed for the day. I arrived shortly after 6:00pm and helped set up the chairs and lectern in the gallery, in and amongst the paintings, prints and sculptures. As we were setting up, the members came in. There was about 40 people in total. I took a seat in the back, and when Florence arrived (a few minutes late) she sat beside me.
Sitting in the front row were George Reid and his wife Mrs. (Mary) Reid. George is the principal of the School of Art, a man of much public stature, so I keep my distance from him. Also seated in the front from was Charles Jefferys, Robert Gagen and Jim MacDonald. Fred Varley was in the second row with Mary Wrinch
Overall, the meeting was a series of dry formalities, interrupted by coughing and the scraping of chairs. I could barely hear Jefferys read his report (he mumbles) but I did hear that the Ontario Government did not make any purchases, but the National Gallery in Ottawa was still making purchases. He also lamented that the Canadian National Exhibition seems to be stuck on French and Belgian works almost to the exclusion of anything North American. It’s my feeling that this selection of art is still a reaction against reciprocity with the Americans, and that we were fighting in the War and the Americans weren’t.
The exciting part of the meeting came at the end when the new OSA members were voted on. Both Frank Carmichael and Francis Johnston got a unanimous vote for membership. As for Florence (she was sitting beside me, gripping my hand during the vote), the show of hands was not nearly as strong. About ten members abstained and another four voted against. It seems that some are still not ready to have women in the Society, despite a third of the membership is women. I couldn’t quite see to the front during the vote, but I’m sure that Mary Wrinch voted against Florence’s membership.
The meeting finished up about eight o’clock and afterward, I walked Florence back to the room at the house she was staying. I told her I’d be going up North soon, and she said that she would very much like to visit me in the Park. She plans to visit friends Ottawa this spring and could make the connections through the Park and stay for a few days. I said I would make arrangements with Shannon. I doubted that the Mowat Lodge would be fully occupied until well into the summer months (if at all).
I walked back to the Shack and looked at my canvas on the easel. I’m sure this will be my last canvas before going North.